News: 'Sex Signals' entertains, teaches, trains
Story by Lance Cpl. James Smith
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan - Servicemembers aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni come to expect the usual “death by PowerPoint” with all hands Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training. For those attending the training at Sakura Theater April 15-16, 2013, they found themselves receiving a different kind of brief.
Actors from Catharsis Productions performed their improvisational show “Sex Signals,” which explains topics related to dating and attitudes that lead to sexual assault and even rape.
“We are actors and educators who teach about social justice issues,” said Kristen Pickering, “Sex Signals” actor. “We perform at colleges and universities, as well as military bases.”
The show put together certain scenarios with the help of participation from the audience. Marines were asked to give places, certain people and even provide cheesy pick-up lines.
Through the use of guided improvisation and attention keeping humor, it managed to bring across the seriousness of sexual assault.
“Sexual assault is a very intense topic, and a lot of times, whenever anyone says, ‘sexual assault is a serious crime,’ people tune them out after five minutes,” said Sharon Adams, station sexual assault response coordinator. “What I like about ‘Sex Signals’ is that it is a combination of education and comical relief, but are serious issues handled in a humorous and diverse way.”
At one point during the presentation, the actors performed a scenario involving one person forcing the other to drink a spiked beverage. The audience had cards with a stop sign and was told to use it when they thought the scene reached the point of where it could be seen as sexual assault.
“We use humor to break down certain barriers and allows people to hear our message, but also allows them to be honest about what they really think,” said Derante Parker, “Sex Signals” actor. “It allows people to be themselves.”
Even with the show displaying the true nature of sexual assault and rape, the point behind the show is to get across the important messages.
“Our goal is for people to understand what rape is, whose fault it is and what we can do as a community to support victims,” said Parker. “We can all do something to stop rape.”
With the close of the curtain, the duo managed to get the messages of sexual assault and rape across without the use of a slide presentation.
“This wasn’t the first time I was at a ‘Sex Signals’ class,” said Sgt. Ciro Cardenas, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron logistics ordinance magazine crew noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “I saw it on the agenda and immediately became excited. Typically, ‘death by PowerPoint’ seems to be more talking down to you. ‘Sex Signals’ is very casual, more inviting and it’s not as formal. I’d recommend this class to anyone.”