“Not only is sexual harassment against girls at school routine, everyday and unquestioned, our results show that sexual assault is in fact commonplace in school environments.” Professor Liz
Kelly, Chair of End Violence Against Women
Back in January, UNTitled Theatre came across a campaign initiated by school girl Yas Necati and supported by thousands to make age appropriate sex education in state-funded schools compulsory. Ensuring it included information about sexual relationships, same-sex relationships, sexual violence, domestic violence and consent. When we saw how important this issue was to young people across the country we contacted The Everyday Sexism Project, an organisation that exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced by women on a day to day basis. Like Laura, we were shocked by the thousands of entries from young people under the age of 18 and their comments drew a worrying picture of life as a teenager. And so we decided to work with The Everyday Sexism Project and talented playwright Suhayla El Bushra, (The Kilburn Passion, Tricycle Theatre. Cuckoo, Unicorn Theatre. Pigeon, Royal Court Theatre.) using those testimonies to develop a production focusing on the experiences of young people across the country and their encounters of everyday sexism both at school, at home and in public as a way to reflect and addresses the fears, pressures and insecurities they face in a digital and hyper sexualised era.
Our production will tour to schools and venues around the UK from Spring / Summer 2015 and will serve as an opportunity to engage with young people on issues such as slut shaming, online pornography, the sharing of information via social media, sexual objectification and consent, addressing their growing concerns as they are forced to deal with difficult and potentially damaging situations alone with little or no guidance. Turning instead to television programmes for information on sexual assault and Internet forums such as Lad Bible, Uni Lad and Ask.Fm, which serve to trivialise rape and turn young girls into sexual objects. Lorraine Mirham of WILPF recently stated that if boys and girls are developing “unhealthy attitudes whilst in school, reinforcing the status quo, sexism will prevail and violence against women will not diminish.”
Our collaboration with The Everyday Sexism Project is a way to help reach their aims to expand into education and outreach work at schools in order to tackle the problem with young people before attitudes become too normalised and ingrained. The project will serve to promote positive social change and give young people the confidence, resources and tools to manage and tackle sexism, both inside and outside of school and as they enter higher education and / or the workplace.
“A vital initiative with the potential to impact many young people’s lives for the better.’ Mulberry School for Girls