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Adelaide Fringe '18 Review: Socially [Un]Acceptable


Adelaide Fringe '18 Review: Socially [Un]Acceptable

Kate Sansome

Socially [Un]Acceptable is a performance that lingers with you long after you leave. It’s confronting, it’s raw and it invites you to question the way society views sexual assault.

Socially [Un]Acceptable is a one-woman stage show from Adelaide's Laura Desmond.  It is her first written piece and details her personal experience with sexual assault.  It is also important to note that this performance contains a strong trigger warning. 

The show is simple in its delivery, as Desmond bravely stands in front of the small crowd and shares the intimate details of her sexual assault.  The audience is immediately confronted by Desmond standing in her underwear and invites the crowd to sing along to a rhyme that she hears all too often at her Uni college: I wish all the women, were statues of Venus, cos then they'd have no arms to push away my penis.

She describes her experiences as ‘socially acceptable sexual assault’ as they follow that all too familiar notion that 'she was asking for it.'  With the recent #MeToo movement and women around the world coming forth with their experiences with sexual assault, Desmond's tale sounds way too familiar.

Socially [Un]Acceptable highlights the frequency of sexual assault in our society, and how people can be assaulted from their partners or people they know. It highlights how society all too often responds with questions like ‘why didn’t she just say no?’, ‘what was she wearing?’ or ‘she shouldn’t have gotten too drunk.’ It is obvious from Desmond's experience that she did ‘all the right things’ and we need to address how society responds to sexual assault and stop victim blaming. 

Socially [Un]Acceptable is a performance asking for social change for how we, as a society, discuss and approach sexual assault. It is a discussion that we need to be having to ‘make the world more fun’ as Desmond put it. Socially [Un]Acceptable is a perfect example of how art can be used for social change, however, Desmond is very open and honest about her experiences and be pre-warned that this performance has a trigger warning for a reason. 

If you think the content might be too confronting for you, there is an accompanying exhibition next to The Producers box office, which features anonymous portraits of sexual assault survivors by graphic designer Stephanie Mitchell and a poem by one of the survivors.

Where:  The Niche at The Producers & Riverside Room at The British Hotel Port Adelaide

When: 16th Feb - 2nd March (The Producers),  8th-11th March (The British Hotel)

Tickets: From $10.00 here

Star rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Header image via Adelaide Fringe