SAPR Sends out "Sex Signals"

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Joshua Morrison
  • 161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The 161st Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office, Phoenix sponsored a visit from an improvisational comedy group here June 1.

Catharsis Productions, an interactive improvisational comedy show, presented "Sex Signals", giving Airmen the opportunity to better understand the importance the Air Force has placed on sexual assault prevention.

Over 300 Airmen attended the show which features various skits depicting potentially adverse sexual situations in which people could find themselves. Following each skit, the actors talked with Airmen about how to mitigate the risk of ending up in these situations and what to do if they see someone in a compromising situation.

Through improvisation and audience interaction, the play explores how social pressures, unrealistic fantasies, power inequity, and false preconceptions of the other sex all contribute to the tensions often found in dating. Then, through a semi-improvisational scene, the presenters demonstrate how these and other factors can lead to sexual assault. The scene enables audiences to recognize the true nature of rape, and to place full responsibility with the rapist, however much they may like them.

"The core issue of the show is consent as well as making sure you are looking out for other people, because even if we don't know someone - taking care of each other is a responsibility of our men and women in the uniform," said Lindsey Pearlman, one of the actresses. "Everyone is looking to [servicemembers] to set the example and to make the cultural shift."

Catharsis Productions aims to confront and educate audiences on challenging social issues in innovative and unexpected ways. Their educational programs engage airmen in tough conversations about the topics of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and oppression. The presenters encourage genuine dialogue, using humor, audience interaction, and dynamic theatrical media to overcome the traditional defensiveness and preconceptions about these issues.

Which is why the SAPR team brought Catharsis Productions here to perform "Sex Signals" - to deliver the SAPR message in a different and creative way, said Lt. Col. Paul Aguirre, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator.

"The SAPR team here at the 161st has worked diligently with our awareness and education efforts over the last four years that I've been a part of the team," said Colonel Aguirre. "We have had great success with our bystander intervention and other SAPR training, and airmen of the 161st Air Refueling Wing are very familiar with our program based on multiple awareness and marketing efforts."

The SAPR program reinforces the Air Force's commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual assault through awareness and prevention training, education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability; The Air Force promotes sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes.