On the seventh day of our workshop, we went through the specifics of forced and arranged marriages. One of the ways we went through it was through discussion, we all talked about what we learned through the past few weeks, and what we thought of the topic before. Afterwards we talked about what signs were for someone that may be about to be forced into a marriage, this was a really effective conversation as not only did we clear some doubts but we saw the progress in a clear way. As for the spoken word part of the workshop we got into small groups and started writing dialogues about the things we have learned and what they truly mean (what consent is, what the difference between an arranged and forced marriage is, why arranged marriages aren’t bad, etc). These pieces are what we will learn to perform and eventually present for the finale of the workshop. — Rammya Ilankannan
In the last workshop, Whitney had divided the girls in two groups of four. They had started working on the themes they wanted to write about. One groups going to write about a forced marriage and an arranged marriage scenario. The other group was going to write about consent. In the beginning of the workshop Whitney led a warm-activity as usual to get the girls to share how they were feeling. Then I went over clarifying a little more about the difference between arranged and forced marriage, especially the grey areas such as the example of Orthodox Jewish marriages, which some consider better and more long-lasting than marriages based on dating, but which has also been criticized by one woman who started an organization called “Unchained At Last” as too pressuring because there is very little time to make the decision after going to about six dates. A young woman may trust her parents choice and go with their decision without requesting for more meetings with the man she is going to marry or without rejecting, but we also discussed what she needed to think about if she did not know the person enough before the marriage.
Then the girls started writing their group pieces and Whitney helped them bring out their ideas. They were not finished writing by the end of the two hours so they would need some extra time to finish their pieces and practice performance. On the performance day, which would be on Saturday Dec 8th, they would also get an extra hour to rehearse their group performance. — Amna Siddiqui