News: 'Sex Signals' raise Soldiers' awareness
Story by Spc. Richard Colletta
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq – People talk about it. People joke about it. But when you get serious about the subject of sex people tend to get quiet pretty quickly. "Sex Signals," a show put on by a group of actors from a company in Chicago, breeches the subject with humor, sketches and improvisational acting to teach Soldiers about sexual assault prevention.
The two-person show was performed by Sharyon Culberson and Kyle Terry, who engaged in playful banter on stage, and acted out stereotypes and sexual situations where misunderstandings can occur that can lead to sexual assault.
The program which was geared towards young adults originally began in 2000 and premiered at various college campuses and was later contracted by Army leaders to train and educate Soldiers in the United States as well as those deployed to Iraq. The program has performed more than 1,000 shows since its inception.
"We found a majority of victims and perpetrators of date rape or acquantaince rape are within the age group of 18 to 24," Culberson said.
Culberson said this is her second trip to Iraq and it has definitely been a great experience.
"Out here people's mindsets are in a different place. We're just trying to make sure people don't hurt each other," she said.
Terry says they try to break down the subject as simply as possible and try to dispel common assumptions about sex and sexual assault.
"Sometimes our assumptions can end up hurting people," he said.
"One of our goals is to make sure if you're the initiator that you make sure your partner wants the same thing you want," said Terry. "Rape is a problem everywhere. It's good to know the Army is taking a proactive stance to reduce the occurrences within it's ranks."
First Sergeant Brian Starns with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, says it's important for Soldiers to understand the sexual assault awareness and prevention program and that every Soldier is entitled to work in a safe environment.
"It's important for us to set the climate that every Soldier is equal and no Soldier should be sexually harassed in the workplace," Starns said.