Innovative sex assault prevention program comes to campus

Campus Security presents "Sex Signals" to coincide with Sexual Assault Awareness Month

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Phyllis S K Look, (808) 956-9291
Marketing & Communications Manager, Campus Services, Marketing
Posted: Apr 22, 2013

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Campus Security is sponsoring three performances of Sex Signals, a nationally recognized sexual assault prevention program that incorporates improvisation, humor, education, and audience interaction. The hour-and-a-half program is designed for college and military audiences and provides a provocative look at dating, sex, and the core issue of consent. The performances are being offered free of charge to all UH Mānoa students, faculty, and staff on Tuesday, April 30, at 10:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. in Kuykendall Auditorium (Room 101). Campus Security and the Department of Athletics are also hosting a presentation of Sex Signals for student-athletes and Athletics staff only. Counselors from UH Mānoa’s Counseling and Student Development Center will be available immediately after each of the presentations to offer support to any audience members who might need it.

Through improvisation and audience interaction, Sex Signals explores how social pressures, gender stereotypes, unrealistic fantasies, and false preconceptions 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 play closes on an empowering note, encouraging the audience to provide solutions for creating safer and healthier interpersonal sexual relationships, and to brainstorm how, as bystanders, they could positively intervene when they witness someone in a vulnerable situation that could lead to sexual violence.

Captain and Acting Chief Alberta J.K. Pukahi of UH Mānoa’s Campus Security has worked closely with the University’s Women’s Center, Judicial Office, and Counseling and Student Development Center on sexual assault cases for more than ten years. “I had heard excellent reports about Sex Signals, which has been performed on Oʻahu military bases, and April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so when the opportunity came up to bring it to Mānoa, I jumped at the chance. An important part of the work of our Security unit is to not only protect those who study and work here, but to educate them on how they are also responsible for keeping themselves safe, as individuals and as a community.”

Sex Signals is a production of Chicago-based Catharsis Productions. Founders Christian Murphy and Gail Stern met at a one-act comedy play competition. Combining their experience in theatre, advocacy, comedy, and education, they developed the piece in 2000. Since then, it has been performed more than 4000 times at over 900 colleges and military installations around the world and reached over 1.2 million people. Touring to Honolulu this April are veteran Sex Signals presenters Chris Sanders and Courtney Abott.

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