Use of drama therapy in unlocking the voices of survivors of Female Genital Mutilation among the Kenyan Maasai
Okoth, Zippora Agatha
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This study investigates the utilization of drama therapy to unlock voices of survivors of Female Genital Mutilation. The study proceeds from the assumption that drama therapy is a useful tool not only to reach out to the survivors but also as an avenue for enhancing their self expression. In this regard, drama therapy helped in enhancing the survivors‘ self expression skills in their quest to recollect their lives and pursuit of their life dreams and goals while at the same time living in harmony with the community. While using various drama therapy techniques such as story-telling, poetry, role playing, song and dance, this study examines and shows how drama therapy can be used as an effective tool in unlocking the voices of survivors of Female Genital Mutilation. The study employed Nietzsche‘s Will to Power theory and Rogerian theory of self in showing how drama therapy can be used to unlock voices of FGM survivors. Nietzsche‘s Will to Power theory was used to explore underlying motives behind the survivors‘ rebellion against Female Genital Mutilation whereas Rogerian theory of Self was used in exploring the survivors‘ freedom, choices and personal responsibilities, particularly after surviving Female Genital Mutilation. The study utilized control-group as its research design while it engaged in-depth interviews, questionnaires, focus group discussions and participatory theatre to obtain data for analysis. The data collected was analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Findings from the study show that drama therapy as a tool for unlocking the voices of FGM survivors creates a safe and playful environment where the survivors are able to act out their anxieties, fears and mental conflicts due to FGM trauma. In this way, the survivors‘ emotions were not only evoked but drama therapy provided a platform on which their anxieties and fears were expressed and at same time, the stigma related to FGM emotions expelled. In an unconditional atmosphere, drama therapy helped the survivors to regain their self-confidence, self-esteem and build trust plus teamwork through the performances. Finally, through the use of drama therapy techniques such as improvisation and role play, the participants gained new and valuable perspectives in their lives and in the process were able to freely forgive those who had wronged them, by coercing, forcing or abusing them, before and after undergoing FGM.