Tuesday, May 04, 2021

I Believe Her (Three’s Theatre Company)

I’d been working late in an office, and around midnight I walked up Botanic Avenue from the bright lights of Shaftesbury Square to where my car was parked along University Square. There weren’t many people around. The fast food delivery cyclists were nowhere to be seen. The train station was closed.

It was just a couple of nights after I had heard the tragic news of Sarah Everard’s death.

No one’s ever messaged me to say “Text me when you get home”. And as ambled up Botanic, I sensed for the first time the privilege of being a white male who really didn’t need to worry about his safety in this area at that time of night. I didn’t need to keep my phone in my hand, ready to fake a call to someone to make me look less vulnerable, or need to hold a sharp key in my fist ready to fight back against an attacker.

For the first I wondered whether I should cross the road to be less of threat for the woman walking down the same side of the street towards me on her own. Could I – should I – reduce her potential anxiety?

These are among the themes picked up in Three’s Theatre Company’s latest audio project, I Believe Her. The producers recommend that you pop some earphones on and listen to it while on a half hour walk.

Curated by Anna Leckey, an all-female team of seven writers have contributed inner monologues and thoughtful reflections that are voiced by female actors. The mix of topics includes period poverty along with sexual harassment and sexual violence. There’s a matter-of-fact-ness about some of the contributions that gives a real kick up the backside as you walk along listening to the tales. Katie Richardson’s sympathetic soundtrack creates gentle mood and differentiates the various pieces of spoken word.

These are not extreme stories. They are everyday, yet mostly suppressed, experiences that need to be heard and responded to. I Believe Her puts you inside womens’ heads and asks you to listen.

The stories cry out for you to be aware, to be an ally, to ask questions, to check your own behaviour and those of the people around you. They also ask for legislators, the criminal justice system and civic leaders to make changes, follow through and show leadership in turning up the volume on conversations and issues that are so often muted.

You can find a link to the audio and to how to make a donation on Three’s Theatre Company’s website.

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