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Sexual violence against children is still a taboo subject for conversation. It is a vicious circle where the child is victimized twice. Parents don’t want to talk about it. Perpetrators go unpunished.

Prof A Mangai

Professor A Mangai’s new play Ulluram (strength within) talks about sexual violence against children. The Students Federation of India recently arranged to perform the play with the theme, “My body is my right.” A group discussion followed the performance.

Sexual violence destroys children. Some die by suicide while others carry the scars to their graves. In most cases, the cases go unreported. When they do, society goes into blame-shifting mode. Schools point fingers at parents while parents accuse teachers. The older generation accuses the youngsters. The buck keeps passing.

The play delves into sensitive themes such as consent, expression of sexual feelings, as well as mental health.

Sexual violence destroys children. Some die by suicide while others carry the scars to their graves. In most cases, the cases go unreported

Marapachi theatre group has created Ulluram as a one man/woman show. Mangai says the play is the result of involved discussions with psychiatrists, teachers, journalists and social activists. Testimonies from children are a key input.

Villavan Ramadoss, Sugirtharani, Ilampirai, Rajasangeethan, Kavitha Gajendran, Srijith Sundaram and Mrudula helped to draft the script. The performance includes a separate section for audience interaction, said Mangai.

When sexual violence happens against children, society mostly discusses stringent punishment. Not many pay attention to the victimized children. Children are scared to speak out.

Theatre artists Anbarasi, Mrudula and Satashi have been trained to perform the one-woman show. The three can perform in different venues in one education institution simultaneously.

When sexual violence happens against children, society mostly discusses stringent punishment. Not many pay attention to the victimized children. Children are scared to speak out. Parents are worried about the future of children and family honour. This fear factor helps the perpetrators of child abuse, Mangai says.

Mangai said they will be screening this play among many student groups. The intention is to take it to society like a movement. She added that Ulluram will be performed for the public at Saidapet in Chennai during the Kalai Iravu event held ahead of New Year celebrations.


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