Humor, skits teach Airmen, Sailors about sexual assault prevention

  • Published
  • By Kimberly Woodruff
  • Tinker Public Affairs
Tinker military members were urged to "Stand Up and Stop" this week.

That was the theme of a two-person show aimed at educating Airmen and Sailors on ending sexual assault in the military. The "Sex Signals" program, part of the base's Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities, was presented at the Team Tinker Auditorium April 7 and 8.

The players, Anne Dufault and George Zerante with Catharsis Productions out of Chicago, are not only actors, but also highly trained Rape Victim Advocates with more than 50 hours of sexual assault training.

"I wanted to find a way to incorporate my love for acting with social change," said Ms. Dufault, a one year veteran with Catharsis Productions. Mr. Zerante has been with Catharsis for six years.

The duo performed "educational scenario" skits that presented the audience with choices. Among other decisions, audience members were asked to suggest an opening line for a guy meeting a girl at a bar or respond to scenarios happening on stage.

Armed with "Stop" cards, audience members could show their disapproval when situations depicted started going in the wrong direction. For example, in one scenario, the man spiked the woman's drink. Everyone held up the 'Stop' card. That didn't stop him. He continued, pulled rank and felt her arm, prompting one audience member to yell out "Stop."

"Stand up and stop sexual assault," said Mr. Zerante. "If the guy is a bruiser and could punch, go tell the bouncer. That's what they do, that's their job. If this is happening in a bar, they don't want anything creepy happening in their place of business."
The final scenario was about rape. In the skit, the rape happens between friends who were hanging out.

"Not all rapes are committed by the dirtbag wearing a ski mask in a dark alley," said Mr. Zerante. "Rape isn't about sex, it is about power."

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, more than a million rapes occur every year, but four out of five of the women are assaulted by someone they know. Three of the five occur with a man the woman has been dating.

Michelle Loughlin, one of Tinker's Sexual Assault Response coordinators, said the "Sex Signals" production dispels much of the common victim blaming that takes place.

"We have to stop blaming the victim," Mr. Zerante said. "Victim blaming affects the military. If the victim does not feel safe to report the crime, the rapist continues to get away with rape. Statistics have shown that rapists will continue to rape.

For more information about stopping sexual assault, call the Tinker Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office at 734-9293.