NEWS | July 16, 2010

Servicemembers discuss 'Sex Signals'

By Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Rojek Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

In an effort to educate servicemembers on sexual abuse, Joint Task Force-Bravo hosted a production of "Sex Signals" at the base theater July 14-15.

The one-hour, 30-minute show used scripted and improvisational comedy, as well as audience participation, to deliver the message that it's up to each individual to stop sexual abuse.

Actors Kyle Terry and Courtney Abbott, both trained in interactive theater and sexual assault education, said using humor helps break down communication barriers and gives the sense of a conversation instead of a briefing.

"Because they're laughing, they like us," Ms. Abbott said. "That makes it easier to tell them things they might not want to hear."

While the show started with a humorous look at the stereotypes males and females place upon themselves and each other, the message got serious when the actors set up a scene in which a young man had to explain why his actions shouldn't be considered rape. This opened up discussion as to what actually constitutes rape. What it comes down to is consent, the actors said.

"The story they used was a great way to present that message," said Staff Sgt. Joel Hart, who works at J6 here. "Sometimes people don't understand that no isn't yes, no isn't maybe; it's no."

Delivering that message in a relaxed, open atmosphere is also important because it allows the conversation to continue after the show, said Mr. Terry. During the show, the audience members get to express what they're thinking and, through that, they learn from the presenters and each other. As the conversations get going, the audience members will ideally continue the discussion later.

Catharsis Productions, which created "Sex Signals," has worked with each branch of the military to deliver the message in a way that will better reach servicemembers, according to their website. The show has been presented at many U.S. military installations worldwide. In fact, before coming to Soto Cano Air Base, Mr. Terry was at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Ms. Abbott was touring bases in Japan.

"This is a cool opportunity to work with the (military)," Mr. Terry said. "They're taking a huge step to reduce sexual assaults and it's cool to be involved in that."

For more information on "Sex Signals," visit www.catharsisproductions.com.