Generation Unlimited: Challenging violence against girls through the arts

A photo of Kauanne

My colleagues and I were already part of the student council in our school and we realized that theatre, like other forms of arts, is the easiest way to get close to young people, especially girls. So we decided to create a play on domestic violence. We had domestic violence cases very close to us that had great impact on our lives, that’s why we recognized the importance of talking about this, especially with girls.

This observation was the motivation we needed to create the Cia. Em.Quadro project. We saw that we had a powerful idea when we attended the Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge Bootcamp and started exchanging ideas about what we learned from our neighborhood with other young people and professionals from UNICEF and the NGO Viração. Here we noticed that we could reach more people with our truth, by telling them a little bit more about our reality.

We wanted to work with girls in a concrete way. We wanted to walk with them, just like other people did with us so they could understand what violence against girls and women is, and how this affects us and our families.

We understand that theatre is our art. We transmit ideas and experiences through a scene. The spectator may have lived something similar and can connect to the scene. Even with no direct question about a subject, a performance has the potential to make people think about it. This is our tool.

We had domestic violence cases very close to us that caused great impact in our lives, that’s why we recognize the importance of talking about this, especially with girls.

To develop the play on domestic violence, we gathered a group of women from our families. We understood that we needed to approach the theme with a lot of sensitivity because we were talking about a human-to-human relationship. We realized that when we see a family member, we also need to see him/her as a human being, a person who has feelings, with a history that deserves to be heard. We understood that each person has lived a situation and has a point of view. For this reason, we didn't want to share generic ideas during the performance. We wanted to reach our audience by telling the truth of each person and showing the problems that we women live with.

We wanted to hear the girls and show them that the theatre is a tool for interpretation in our society. We empowered ourselves when we created the theater company. In the theatre, we see a solution so that the girls’ voices are not erased by structural chauvinism.

As citizens, our voices need to be heard and our desires too, because an individual problem affects the collective. We are making changes. We managed to show that the revolution is not utopian, but that it can happen through small actions. We are young and live everything we say. We are not talking for others but for ourselves, about our daily problems.

Kauanne was one of the participants of the Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge, which engages young people as co-creators of solutions to challenges linked to secondary-age education, employability, and empowerment. Learn more about it here.