DIRTY SECRETS is autobiographical dance short film with an all women cast and crew, that traces a lifetime of sexual abuse and harassment across my lifespan in both the east and the west which is a surprisingly common story. This is an international collaboration across a cast and crew from the US, Malaysia, and India. Here is the narration. I tear her, like a cork too tight for the bottle. No champagne, just blood and screams. I am born. The doctor slaps my buttocks, “Sorry Nalini, it’s a girl.” Second class from the second I arrive I was six when I was raped Hang on, that’s too much I remember when I was made fun of for wearing blue to school when my slingshot was swapped for dolls when I wanted to help appa fix his bike, and he said “baby, go help amma in the kitchen instead” The public bus to school Stifling heat, boys and men copping a feel Elbowing my way out, I escape the suffocation and gasp the glorious, billowing, black fumes of Pallavan Transportation One day I curled up, the first namaste from my uterus, Too much to hide, the overflow repulsed my perpetrators a cocktail of shame and relief The day a relative grabbed my breast Or when a neighbour gave me a test; “Let’s see how your proportions measure against the Hindu sculptures” The day my teacher told my 9-year old mate “It happened because you were too friendly” I left it all behind when I came to the land of the free! But soon after, I was spanked by a man in NYC And my friend asked me “Were you drunk on your martini? Or your shirt too tight?” The guilty clothes added to the “donate” pile A relentless colleague, a fellow professor winking a hungry eye, “My Harley has a bitch seat…”, “Boys will be boys”, said the powers that be A Title IX exercise in futility A lifetime of dirty secrets Filling this curvaceous chest Not your mother nor your sister But a woman, just another woman Whining about abuse Share, comment, like, subscribe or even cancel… Because that’s what we do, isn’t it? but is that the best we can do?
Director: Prathiba Natesan Batley
Producer: Prathiba Natesan Batley
Writer: Prathiba Natesan Batley
Key Cast: Prathiba Natesan Batley