Sarah* will be appearing in Kamini Manikam’s (left) recital 'Lipstick' to lend strength to other domestic violence survivors.
A dance recital aims to spread awareness on domestic violence and inspire survivors to take a stand.
AFTER 14 years of enduring constant abuse from her husband who tortured and raped her without mercy, *Sarah left. The sales promoter decided she’d had enough when her father-in-law tried to rape too. She escaped with her three children and has been on the run ever since.
Furious with her request for a divorce, her husband, with the help of hired gangsters, continued harassing Sarah. Last year, in a violent scuffle, he chopped off her left thumb. Even after 23 police reports and two IPOs (Interim Protection Orders), Sarah’s case has yet to go to court.
Nevertheless, Sarah wants her story to be told if only to encourage other victims of domestic abuse to get help.
This weekend, Sarah will share her story with the audience of new-age bharathanatyam recital, Lipstick: Celebrating Womanhood presented by the Tanjai Kamalaa Indira Dance School (TKI).
Organised in conjunction with International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, Lipstick will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) on March 1 and 2.
The song and dance ensemble aims to demonstrate the power and beauty of a woman’s love though a series of song and dance repertoires led by principal dancer Kamini Manikam and her team of traditional musicians.
Sarah will be featured in the “Epitaph Of Broken Vows”, a monologue and dance segment focusing on domestic violence.
“I may have lost my thumb, but I still have my heart – my spirit is still going strong. What has happened has happened; there’s no use crying over the past. Right now, my priority is to earn a living to support my children and give them a good education,” says Sarah, 32.
Her agreement to appear in Lipstick stems from her desire to inspire other survivors to never give up hope.
“I really want to share my story with the audience. Sadness should only be for the moment. When something like this breaks you down, never let it break your will. It’s difficult, but you have to try your best to just get up and move on.”
According to Kamini, who is also the director, producer, choreographer and costume designer for Lipstick, the arts is a useful medium in creating awareness about social issues like domestic violence.
“I’ve read about the stories in the newspaper; heard about it a lot on the radio. I’ve always wondered: what is happening to these women? What are we doing to help them? I believe that the arts is powerful enough to bring about the emotions needed to spread awareness on this issue.”
Through Lipstick, Kamini, 30, hopes to instil the message that domestic violence should never be tolerated. She hopes that Sarah’s story will inspire other women to speak up if they are faced with a similar situation.
“When it comes to reports on domestic violence, there are times when the whole story doesn’t get told. Some women don’t want to speak up because they are shy or fear for their children. And then there are also those who are not aware that they are in an abusive relationship. We wanted a survivor to come on stage to stress the reality of the situation. We chose Sarah not because we wanted to portray her in a sympathetic light, but because she is someone who’s brave and strong and despite all odds, she has not given up on life. Through Sarah, we hope that other survivors will be inspired to take that first step to make a change in their lives.”
> Tickets are priced at RM105, RM75 and RM55. For more details, call 010-530 6909/03 or go to www.tki.com.my.
* Not her real name.