As a radio host, the comedian, actor and producer Angie Le Mar talked her way through scores of Saturday-morning phone-in shows. One stuck in the memory. Let’s talk about relationships, she announced. And one girl, obviously self-conscious, began to speak slowly.
She told of the day that she had sex with her boyfriend, only to realise that, without noise or fanfare, four of his friends had entered the room. With the girl cauterised by shock, confusion, perhaps fear, each of them, methodically, politely even, proceeded to have sex with her. Her boyfriend, collegiate to his friends above all things, stood to watch. Her question to the presenter. “Angie, was I raped?”
There is something going on with the interaction between young men and girls in more cases than we care to admit, Angie tells me. It’s not just misogyny, not just generational. Something darker. Like a parallel world. Boys who treat girls as sexual functionaries, group chattel. Girls who, unable to cope with the pressures placed upon them, buy into the wretched deal. You were raped, Angie told her. You need to tell your mother. I can’t, she said. She thinks I’m a tramp. Game set and match.
We are making a lot of fuss about boys, and rightly so, says Angie, but we are not thinking enough about the girls. Where’s the support? Where’s the “toolkit” to help them cope in a climate harsher and more overtly sexualised than any experienced by my generation? How do we help them to reject the values of the Kidulthood generation? How do we help them to value themselves?
Angie’s trade is words and so she wrote a play, Do You Know Where Your Daughter Is?, the tale of an unaware mother and a daughter sucked into this moral jungle. Mothers who have watched tell of a new understanding of the urban world their daughters inhabit. Daughters begin to understand the confusion of their parents. It’s been to theatres and schools, and though her young actors haven’t, as yet, got anywhere to stay, Angie has signed up to take them to the Edinburgh fringe festival. It’s a gamble but worth it, she says, because, more than anything else she has done, this is altering trajectories. Sometimes play-acting changes lives.
Check the play out here Angie Le Mar