Out of all the shows I saw at The Fringe this year Socially Unacceptable was by far the most moving, empowering and important one I went to see. Not only is it an important message for people of all ages, nationalities and genders, it was also gripping from the very first second to even leaving the room. There were tears. So many tears around the room and from me. This wonderful woman is so brave and I am proud of her and what she is doing.
So what is it about? Well, a very strong and brave woman stands on front of several people in her underwear and shares her heartbreaking experiences of sexual abuse to show that society has taught us to think about it all wrong and we need to change that. I cried for the majority of this show. Not just because of her performance, which was incredible, but because everything she was saying was to help others, not herself. She is doing an incredibly difficult thing so that others don’t have to experience the horrible things she did.
I don’t want to ruin the show too much by detailing her experiences just in case she returns, but what I will say is that the stories she told are worryingly similar to that of me and my peers. It’s important to remember that sexual abuse isn’t just rape, it’s unwanted touching, forceful kissing and it is NOT the victims fault. A lot of the time, and in one of her stories, emotional abuse is present as well. Which makes it even harder to get out of the situation.
The most important line of the show I can’t quite remember, but it was similar to this: “I got to the point where a victim should never be. I wondered if it was my fault.” I can tell you it’s never the victims fault. So you were blackout drunk and woke up beside a friend who took advantage of that, was that your fault? Absolutely not. Does someone keep persisting until you’re too tired and weak to say no? That’s not your fault either. It can be so hard to fight someone off, which is why it’s important to educate both sides what is appropriate so we can try and avoid it all together.
When leaving the show I got a hug from her. I held it so together until my head hit her shoulder and I broke. She’d been through so much and was strong enough to get up there every evening and talk about it. In her underwear. Reliving those experiences. I wish I could be even half as strong as her. It’s definitely time to #changethenarrative and I plan to bring it up more often in order to educate and inform.