Interactive class raises assault awareness
CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan -- Marines and sailors attended Sex Signals, an informative, comedic presentation given by professional civilian actors with Catharsis Productions April 10-12 at Marine Corps installations throughout Okinawa as part of Sexual Assault Prevention Month.
Sex Signals uses new and interactive ways to approach one of the biggest issues that affects unit readiness and provides vital information to deter, identify and stop sexual assaults.
This presentation is unique because it incorporates improvisation, education and audience participation to provide insight on dating, sex and consent, according to Derante Parker, a presenter for Sex Signals.
“I think all sexual assault prevention training is equally important,” said Parker. “What I think makes our presentation so effective is that we mirror the audience’s language and use humor to get them to relax and be honest about how they feel about these issues.”
During the presentation, actors showed the audience possible scenarios of men and women meeting for the first time, first dates and potential sexual assault situations.
“This presentation gave me a lot of important information,” said Lance Cpl. Jose Rojas, a military policeman with 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF. “We always have annual sexual assault and prevention training, and it is all important, but these scenarios were especially helpful. They help show situations that could arise and ways to handle them.”
While the actors connect with the audience through humor and skits, they are really teaching them about very serious issues.
“This training is important because it teaches people to support survivors and to intervene in situations, which can help prevent sexual assault,” said Kristen Pickering, a Sex Signals presenter.
Intervention is one of the most important parts of the presentation because it is something anyone can do and gives everyone control of the situation, according to Pickering.
“Education of this type is phenomenal,” said Sgt. Maj. Kevin M. Conboy, the sergeant major of 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, III MHG. “It is great that the Corps can provide this type of training to the Marines and sailors.”
Training that is given through multiple venues helps ensure the knowledge reaches everyone, regardless of rank or age, according to Conboy. Some can learn from hard facts and statistics, while others benefit more from the interactive approach that Sex Signals brings to the audience.
“If everyone in our audience only walks away with one thing from our presentation, I hope it is that this issue affects all of us,” said Parker. “It is not just a woman’s issue, and it is not just a man’s issue; sexual assault can affect everyone.”