'A Girl is a Half-formed Thing' plays at The Young Vic (17 Feb - 26 March 2016). Tonight I attended their press night. (SPOILERS)...
This is a play about child abuse and incest. The actor's performance (Aoife Duffin) killed me. Watch this show. Not because it is award winning and at The Young Vic. But because it embodies the truth of a female victim's experience. A truth that is shared by every victim. A truth that is successfully hidden by families, the abuser, religion, friends, society...through victim shaming and blaming.
The Girl (who is never named and who attempts to name herself before taking her own life) is anonymous but her experience is shared by so many young women and children. Whose first experience of sex and intimate relationship is at the hands of a predatory adult. The Girl who, after this experience harms herself / finds someone to harm her because she thinks she is worthless. The Girl who thinks the only attention she can get is for her body (even with A's and B's and going to University). The Girl whose supermarket shelf-stacking brother is prefered by their mother because "he could have been a priest". The Girl who will never be favoured because she is a girl - unless it is for her virginity, her youth, for what is between her legs.
When women and girls are reduced to objects of sex, and when the majority of child abuse victims are female and the majority of abusers are male (see the statistics*) this is more than a universal problem of sexual abuse - this is a feminist issue. Annie Ryan says in the playtext, the Girl "absolutely owns her experience with genuine courage and an unapologetic sense of her own agency. Even when she is causing herself harm or terrible things are happening to her, she perserveres to find her own truth".
Let's value these girls lives by witnessing their truths (with love and respect to Tessa Hart's 'Unheard Festival' at The Bread and Roses Theatre - survivors of child sex abuse are given a voice here http://www.goblinbaby.com/festival-overview.html) x
On Female Arts: Annie Ryan, the director and playwright (adaptation) of 'A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing' is interviewed by Amie Taylor http://www.femalearts.com/node/2222
Review of 'A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing' by Samantha Coughlan http://www.femalearts.com/node/2209
(c) Wendy Thomson 2016
'A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing' is a novel by Eimear McBride - adapated for the stage by Annie Ryan.
*See report on child sexual abuse in the family network in England published November 2015 by the Child's Commisioner - page 48 for the victim's gender - 75% female "Most identified victims of child sexual abuse and child sexual abuse in the family environment are female (Figure 8). Through the call for evidence, the majority of agencies working with victims of child sexual abuse in the family environment have provided evidence which demonstrates that most victims of child sexual abuse in the family environment are female."
See page 56 about the gender of the perpetrator: "‘Father’ was the next most frequent response, followed by ‘uncle’, ‘brother’ and ‘stepfather’. In total, ‘mother’ formed a small group of identified perpetrators." http://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications...