WBEZ | domestic abuse http://www.wbez.org/tags/domestic-abuse Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago church offers theater as therapy http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-church-offers-theater-therapy-104119 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Karma%20035_2.JPG" style="height: 398px; width: 600px;" title="The newlywed couple in happier times before violence tears them apart.(Photo courtesy of Derrick Dawson)" /></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F69368225&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The stage at St. Martin&#39;s Episcopal Church is split into two halves.</p><p>On stage right, a newlywed couple crosses the threshold. On stage left, the same couple grows old and spiteful in their daughter&rsquo;s home, 30 years later.</p><p>The play, <em>Karma</em>, tells the tale of a couple&#39;s struggle with violence and alcoholism, and its ugly aftermath. It centers around double characters and a storyline that alternates between two time periods.</p><p>Playwright Senyah Haynes, said these dualities woven into her play are intentional. They are meant to remind the audience that people aren&#39;t all good or all bad. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Lovely people do some really evil things. People who are really horrible can be really kind to a stranger,&rdquo; Haynes said. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t just box people in.&rdquo;</p><p>Director Raina Long said the story is also meant to be a bitter dose of medicine for the surrounding Austin neighborhood.The area has seen ongoing gang violence and nearly 1,000 violent crimes so far this year, according to Chicago police statistics.</p><p>Long and parishioner Derrick Dawson started the theater at St. Martin&rsquo;s two years ago to offer artistic healing for the neighborhood and a safe place for its youth.</p><p>&ldquo;Arts funding on the West Side is very hard to come by,&rdquo; Long said. &ldquo;There aren&rsquo;t a lot of extra-curricular activities for young people on this side of town in general.&rdquo;</p><p>Austin&rsquo;s YMCA, a popular hangout for local teens, closed in October. Neighbors are worried that the lack of options could lead teens to other activities, like selling drugs on the corner.</p><p>&ldquo;Being able to see this story and then hopefully relate to it in some way, I hope will give the audience an opportunity to perhaps heal some of the hurts they may have going on,&rdquo; Long said.</p><p>In <em>Karma</em>, the characters Queen and Ezekiel have a painful memory that haunts them in old age: The young Ezekiel beats Queen, his pregnant wife, in a drunken rage. He mistakenly thinks the baby she&#39;s carrying isn&#39;t his, but the audience knows that Ezekiel is killing his own son. The lights dim on a bloodied Queen, lying on the ground.</p><p>Backstage, 19-year-old Jasmine Derosier is working the sound and lighting.&nbsp;When she watches the beat-down scene, she remembers experiences involving her own family. She saw her cousin&#39;s pregnant 16-year-old friend get beaten by her boyfriend.</p><p>&ldquo;He hit the girl with a bottle to her stomach, and the next thing you know, we saw this girl with blood going down her legs,&rdquo; Derosies said.</p><p>She said seeing the play and interacting with the cast has taught her to think before acting.</p><p>&ldquo;I can calm myself down by remembering some stuff from the play,&rdquo; Derosies said. Before, she said, &quot;I know I treat(ed) my little brothers like they&#39;re little rugrats, kick(ed) them around a little bit.&quot;</p><p>Now, she said, she tries to &quot;think about what you&#39;re doing before you do it.&quot;&nbsp;She thinks other people from the neighborhood could relate to the play and learn from it, too, like her mom.</p><p>&quot;The way she treats me and my little brothers, it&#39;s all this anger towards us. But here and there she&#39;ll be playing with us, then the next thing you know, she&#39;s back angry,&quot; Derosiers said. &quot;If you ask me, watching this play, she&#39;d just sit down and think about it.&quot;</p><p>St. Martin&#39;s parishioner Anita Haskell said she hasn&#39;t experienced the kind of physical abuse the play shows, but seeing it took her back to difficult relationships from the past.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s very close to the bone, really,&quot; Haskell said. &quot;We had one congregation member walk out because he couldn&#39;t take it.&quot;</p><p>In <em>Karma</em>, Queen leaves Ezekiel and flees to Chicago to protect her daughters from their abusive father. Thirty years later, Queen and her old husband are stuck back together in their daughter&#39;s house because they can&#39;t afford a nursing home.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/karma cropped_0.JPG" style="float: right;" title="(Photo courtesy of Derrick Dawson)" /></div></div><p>Warren Feagins plays the older Ezekiel. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s a character who&rsquo;s like most of us,&rdquo; Feagins said. &ldquo;We appear to be mostly one thing on the surface, but underneath there&rsquo;s a lot going on.&quot;</p><p>Feagins said his character could help people understand the violent tendencies in everyone.</p><p>&ldquo;Sometimes I look out into the audience, and I really wish that there were more people here from the community,&rdquo; Feagins said. He grew up in public housing in Chicago at the Robert Taylor Homes and Cabrini-Green.</p><p>&ldquo;(There are) some people here that need to get the message but unfortunately don&rsquo;t know about it, or there are things going on in their lives that prevent them from coming,&rdquo; Feagins said.</p><p>The play manages to end on a positive note: It implies Queen and Ezekiel are able to end the cycle of domestic violence. After three decades of separation, Queen eventually forgives Ezekiel for his actions.</p><p><em>Karma</em> closes with a young bride&#39;s joyful laughter, and the two sides of the severed stage, the past and the present, coming together.</p></p> Fri, 30 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-church-offers-theater-therapy-104119 Indonesian migrant workers in Middle East face abuse and rape http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/indonesian-migrant-workers-middle-east-face-abuse-and-rape-94264 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-21/indonesia1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In seeking work abroad, Indonesian migrants are particularly vulnerable to abuse. In countries like Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, they often work up to 18 hours a day without any days off. Many are unpaid and held in forced servitude; others are confined, beaten or raped by their employers.</p><p><a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/08/08/anis-hidayah-indonesia" target="_blank">Anis Hidayah</a>, executive director of the Jakarta-based advocacy group Migrant Care and recipient of Human Rights Watch's <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/08/09/global-human-rights-watch-honors-7-activists" target="_blank">Alison Des Forges Award</a>, monitors abuses against Indonesian workers.</p><p>She and <a href="http://www.hrw.org/bios/nisha-varia" target="_blank">Nisha Varia</a>, a senior researcher for the <a href="http://www.hrw.org/category/topic/women" target="_blank">Women's Rights Division</a> of Human Rights Watch, tell <em>Worldview </em>what's being done to curb the exploitation.</p></p> Tue, 29 Nov 2011 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/indonesian-migrant-workers-middle-east-face-abuse-and-rape-94264