The American Center Kolkata hosted Ben Atherton-Zeman, an American educator and public speaker on issues of gender based violence prevention and sexism. The American Center, Kolkata helps in the promotion of mutual understanding between the citizens of India and USA with the help of cultural programs of this caliber. This event was like many of the other programs hosted by the centre on important topical issues.
Ben showcased his engaging one-man play “Voices of Men” at the American Center’s Lincoln Room, one of his flagship performances to end violence against women. He used humor and celebrity voice impressions engagingly to showcase topics like sexual consent, dating violence and domestic violence, objectification and sexual harassment to the audience. “Voices of Men” has the basic aim of encouraging men to become involved in self reflection and reduce violence. Ben identified a recovering sexist in men and urged them to challenge violence and sexism in the world and within themselves.
During his Kolkata trip Ben Zeman also presented a role play performance “Jen and Steve” for students at the Lakshmipat Singhania Academy. He next interacted with the local NGOs and the victims of the gender based violence. He also spent time sharing his ideas with the media personnel. Ben is a spokesperson for the National Organization for ‘Men against Sexism’ (www.nomas.org) which is based in Denver, Colorado. For the past twenty years, he has been working as a prevention educator for rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs, and state coalitions. He is an advisory board member for the White Ribbon Campaign in the United Kingdom and a blogger for Ms. Magazine. Ben Zeman has given performances and keynote addresses on issues around gender based violence in countries like U.S.A, Canada, England, Turkey, China, South Africa, Czech Republic and Nepal. Apart from that he has spoken and performed at colleges, high schools, military bases, public theatres, conferences, domestic violence programs, houses of worship and juvenile detention facilities.
Ben will travel next to Hyderabad and New Delhi as part of his India tour that ends on August 30.