Sustainers host Sex Signals play to combat sexual assault
March 21, 2009
- Sustainers host Sex Signals play to combat Sexual Assault
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Sex Signals, a multi-media play tackling issues about dating, sex and consent will be performed for Soldiers and Airmen at Holt stadium here as part of a larger theater-wide tour March 9 at 10:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
The 90 minute, two-person play will entertain while providing sexual assault prevention training to approximately 2,700 Soldiers at six different locations in Iraq and Kuwait. The Army plans to eliminate sexual assault within the next five years by using different teaching methods, like Sex Signals, that tell Soldiers they are duty bound to intervene, act and motivate others to stop sexual assault.
"We are seeking to bring about a cultural change about sex assault and sexual harassment," said Master Sgt. Verlean Brown, sexual assault response coordinator with the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).
The play's priority is to connect with younger Soldiers to promote a better understanding of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Brown said.
The Army estimates one in six Army females will be sexually assaulted at least once in their career, and sexual assault is estimated to be the most under reported crime in the military.
"Through this tour we can connect and show how sexual assault and sexual harassment affects people and distracts from mission readiness," Brown said.
The message Sex Signals teaches is in line with the Army values and is another tool for leaders to show their Soldiers they are committed to ridding sexual assault from the Army, Brown said.
"I like the idea of using humor and live actors versus PowerPoint," Brown said. "The generation and age group we are targeting will connect better with this type of presentation.
The purpose of this play, which has been presented at many military installations stateside, is targeted to educate junior enlisted Soldiers in the age range of 18-24 about sexual assault and how to protect yourself from being a victim and also how to not victimize others.
"It's a different approach to use actors/characters but we think it will connect better with the audience," Brown said.
The presentation mixes humor, improvisation and audience participation to address serious problems like sexual assault and sexual harassment, Brown said. She said she thinks it's a good idea to use comedy for this topic.
"People have always used humor to present difficult issues," Brown said. "It doesn't take away from the message."
The promoters warn that some of the language contained in the program may be offensive to some people. They state this is language used by much of the audience, they believe the language to be appropriate, especially given the context of this program.
The play was created by Catharsis Productions, an organization that uses creative and unique media to educate audiences on social issues. The production is a simple set up with two sturdy armless chairs, two cordless lapel microphones and a handheld microphone. This makes it easy to host in different venues across Iraq.
STORY BY SGT CRYSTAL G. REIDY, 123 MPAD PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
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