In March, activists and politicians met at the UN’s 57th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) at the New York headquarters. The conferences topic: Prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. According to the UN, globally 7 out 10 women will be beaten, raped, abused, or mutilated in their lifetimes with most of the violence is taking place in intimate relationships.

Lana Finikin, 59, from Jamaica was one of the activists attending the conference that took place March 4th to 15th 2013. She reported that public safety for women and girls is improving in Jamaica although there are still many problems. “The saying is, when women and girls are safe, then everybody else will be safe,” she said.

In 1977, Finikin co-founded the Sistren Theatre Collective, which uses performances to explore problems concerning poor women in rural and urban communities in Jamaica – issues include violence, HIV/Aids, domestic work, housing, land tenure, environment and unemployment. Today she acts as the group’s executive director.

Finikin uses drama as a tool to share experiences and to empower communities on a grassroots level so they can resolve their own problems. Sistren develops the stories for its plays out of people’s experiences and narrations. At the UN conference, Finikin showed her approach in a two-hour-long condensed workshop.

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