‘One Night’ of entertainment and education for Edinboro

Category:  News
Thursday, October 4th, 2018 at 9:43 AM

As students, faculty members and counselors took their seats in Louis C. Cole Memorial Auditorium on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 18, the welcoming atmosphere helped them prepare for what would be seen, and heard, next.

“One Night,” which started around 7:30 p.m., involved two male and two female actors from Equalogy, a nonprofit organization that has worked to address issues in equality for the past 21 years, including one of two main plays produced by Equalogy, each focusing on difficult yet important topics.

For this event, the topic of acquaintance rape, which is defined as “rape by a person who is known to the victim,” was presented.

The second play, which was not shown at this time, discusses intimate partner violence, and, according to the actors, is potentially more graphic. 

Beginning as a group of four friends on their last day of college, with a case of Blue Moon beer at an apartment, the performance dives straight into sexist arguments and joking, along with attacks using stereotypes, followed by sexual advances between a man and woman who claim to have an unresolved romance.

As two actors playing a couple left the scene, the audience learned that the second female character was assaulted and that the perpetrator continued to deny it. “No one will believe you,” said the male character regarding the victim sharing their story.

Two question and answer sessions with the actors, still in character, took place, with one person asking the rapist how he would live with guilt and another asking the victim how she learned that it wasn’t her fault.

Experiences that often happen with situations involving rape and abuse were also shown. These included making excuses, blaming oneself, support, being a survivor, helping a victims’ loved ones and many others. 

The actors shared facts and statistics during and after the performance, as well. They stated that 1/4 women are raped in their lifetime. In addition, they said that 2/3 of all rapes are committed by a person who the victim knows.

One of the actors had online training through RAINN, or the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, and said they would recommend it for others.

Another actor, who revealed that he had three sisters, was surprised during a performance at another college to learn that some students thought that they “couldn’t stop once they’ve started,” and often wonders what his sisters think and know about this.

Counselors were present for anybody who needed resources for help and for further information about the play and its topics.

Dr. Stacie Wolbert, assistant vice president for student affairs, finds performances like these more engaging, interactive and important for helping students “understand a complex situation,” she said, while also referring to an interactive program called “Zero Shades of Gray” from Collegiate Empowerment, which was held here before.

While Cyndi Waldinger, the director of student conduct, found some of the material hard to hear, “it’s real,” she said.

Some were occasionally amused and angered, especially when characters were questioned, yet Wolbert noticed positive discussion as students were leaving and hopes to have Equalogy back during the Fall 2019 semester.

Ron Wilson, social equity director, was moved by the performance and hopes that the Title IX training requirement, which the characters were asked about, can be extended to upperclassmen instead of only freshmen. Speaking on behalf of the students, Wilson also would have liked to see a discussion of campus resources and the aftermath of the assault, especially with legal action, between the characters. We should also understand the importance of, and the effort put into these events, according to Wilson.

One of the final points was that “only rapists can prevent rape by not doing it,” holding the reminder that, “No,” means no, and to continue raising awareness.

Amber Chisholm can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: news

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