MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
Imagine a party off base at a friend’s house. A buddy takes a strong notice to a new female sitting across the room by herself. He walks over to her and sits down. He continues to encourage her to consume alcohol, put her hand on his lap and verbally harass her. Pause.
Courtney Abbott and Chris Sanders, improvisational actors with Catharsis Productions, played out this scenario for Marines and sailors during “Sex Signals” at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii theater, April 25.
“Sex Signals” is an improv-based play with male and female actors who act out different scenes and interacted with the audience. The crowd got involved by providing settings, pick-up lines and asking and answering questions about when a person in a scene might be “going too far.”
“It was great to get involved with the actors,” said Lance Cpl. Timothy Hobbs, a postal clerk with Headquarters Battalion and native of Franklin, Va. “The scenarios depicted by the actors were very realistic. We discussed what we could do to prevent sexually assault.”
A discussed solution to prevent sexual assault during “Sex Signals” was to verbally ask for the partner’s consent. Marines and sailors were strongly encouraged to simply ask the other person for their consent.
Alcohol use increases the chance for someone to sexually assault another person or have himself or herself be assaulted. When consuming alcohol, people no longer have the ability to give their consent to someone else. Sexual boundaries are ignored and the victim’s ability to guard against an attack is diminished.
Abbott and Sanders asked the audience how they prevent their friends from drinking and driving. The audience exclaimed to the actors they would take their buddy’s keys.
Abbott and Sanders continued to ask how the audience protects their friends from sexual assault. The audience sat in their seats and had to think about it for a second.
“Why don’t people take alcohol related sexual assault as seriously as drinking and driving,” Sanders said. “Everyone needs to realize that the affects of sexual assault has a huge impact on the victim and perpetrator.”
Situations like this were continually brought to the attention of every Marine and sailor in attendance.
“Having civilians inform the Marines made it easier for them to talk about something that isn’t easy to talk about,” said Staff Sgt. Carlo Villanueva, a uniform victim advocate for Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 and a native of Chicago, Ill. “The class gave Marines a different perspective to an important issue. Marines responded very well to the presentation and took valuable information away from the class.”
“The main point I took from ‘Sex Signals’ is to simply ask for their consent,” Hobbs said. “If she’s drinking, just don’t even think about it.”