Athletes learn about sexual assault

Greta Lazzarotto

Tessa Dschaak, theater sophomore, and Jonathon Stone, theater junior, perform and teach student athletes about sexual assault on Jan. 25. Photo by Bridget Reilly

Sexual assault and abuse is a widely discussed topic on many campuses around the United States. On Jan. 25 in the Dillard College of Business Administration, a  theater department instructor organized an event on the subject matter — Since Last Night, one of the theater department’s annual performances. It was directed mainly toward student athletes and teams.

“Athletes really represent the university,” Karen Dabney, assistant professor of the theater department and organizer of the event, said.

In October 2016, Baylor University officials were involved in a sexual assault scandal. According to the CBS news website, 19 Baylor football players have been accused of sexual abuse since 2011. They also stated that because of hidden proofs regarding the case, former Baylor University President Ken Starr and head football coach Art Briles were discharged from their positions.

“Prevention is important for athletes because NCAA suffered recently because of sexual assault cases,” Reagan Foster, counselor and student athlete assistant life skills coordinator, said.

Dabney and students in the the theater department set up a show depicting a typical college scenario of “the day after” a party. A group of students acted out the show, representing four friends and their behavior toward a misguided sexual relationship. They involved the audience with activities and interactive debates using an informal language.

“It’s more relatable,” Christopher D’Amico, lecturer and co-adviser to the People Respecting Identity Diversity for Everyone group, said.

The purpose for this event was for students to reflect on the topic and to engage in conversations that they usually perceive as uncomfortable.

“It’s important for students because of the conversation that comes out of it. It’s something you wouldn’t talk to your friends about,” Xavier Alexander, music and vocal performance sophomore and actor in the show, said.

The performance mainly focused on consent and its meaning. A preshow-metaphor of consent on getting tea together, taken from the “ Tea Consent” viral video on YouTube, contributed to captivate the spectators, and helped to introduce the topic.

“Using the tea video and an informal language helps lightening the mood and capturing the audience’s attention,” Dabney said.

Last semester, this show was performed three times and directed to all freshman and transfer students on campus. This semester the theater department and the athletic department collaborated and involved all athletes on campus to participate.