Handling sexual misconduct: dance conference hosts session at Alwarpet clinic

The 38th Natya Kala Conference themed Aneka, presented by Yagnaraman Centre for Performing Arts and Sri Krishna Gana Sabha Trust, hosted a special session on Dec 26 evening at NILA in Kasturi Rangan Road.

The Landscape of Healing: A psychological primer on handling sexual misconduct – was the topic for the session.

Dr.Srinidhi Chidambaram, who has conceptualised and convened Aneka welcomed everyone and invited Dr Sahiba Sultana, a senior psychologist from Apollo Hospitals for the talk ( seen in photo).

It took place in an outdoor area with classical music in the background.

Male and female classical dancers besides others attended the session.

The MeToo movement obviously prompted this session. Dr Sahiba started off by discussing sexual misconduct and the ways to deal with it.

She said misconduct occurs by any unwanted/ unwelcome look, gesture, touch or by words. “This happens very often to us mostly from the people in power. Even from our guru, it can happen. We need to first change our mindset, the feeling that we can’t question gurus,” she said.

“We have to create an environment of discussion. The family and the fraternity should listen, support and advise the victims rather than brushing them off.”

With the mention of support from the fraternity, dancer Swarnamalya pointed out that most of the senior dancers who were present in the morning have not come for this session to show their support for the MeToo movement and asked how to address such attitudes.

“It is a competitive field . . our own fraternity pulls us down. We have to rise above it, ” said the professional.

“After discussion with parents, gain the courage to speak up in small groups like this. Don’t lose your self worth and project yourself as vulnerable. Finally, tell the person concerned if you are uncomfortable, whoever it may be.” she added.

If the perpetrator is punished, does the healing happen? asked one dancer, to which Dr Sahiba said “the shock from the negative experience will still be there in the subconscious mind. If another remotely similar incident happens, the pain will come back.”

Later, she gave the some tips to overcome the PTSD (Post-Traumatic Sex Disorder) that includes  depression, panic attack, trust issues, losing self-worth and self-harm.

  • Unhook with the negative thoughts, acknowledge your emotions and face them. – Letting go – be compassionate to yourself. – Stepping out – go out in the fresh air, meet with friends.- Be mindful. – Reset your values – understand your purpose/identity and retain it. – Write down a letter to your future, self expressing your emotions. Change a habit that made you vulnerable-Be courageous, strong and emotionally resilient.
  • – Report, photo by J. Dheepthi, trainee reporter


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