MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — --
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE,
N.C. — “This is
all your fault. Why did you lie?
he didn’t do that. You just want attention.”
These are words a victim might hear
after reporting a sexual assault, but the Department of the Navy has partnered
with Pure Praxis, a performance troupe, to help change that.
Pure Praxis travelled to Marine
Corps Base Camp Lejeune Jan. 28 and performed interactive scenarios to teach
Marines and sailors how they can step up and support a service member who is a
victim of sexual assault.
“We integrate real-life scenes with
actors and intersperse talking points and bring in audience members to
participate in the scenes,” said Benji Kaufman, a facilitator with the troupe.
“The audience isn’t just sitting
there and listening to someone talk,” said Kaufman. “We bring them on stage and
we don’t let them get away with the easy answers. We ask them the tough
questions and get the tough answers.”
One of the scenes the troupe focuses
on is a female service member who reported a sexual assault and is harassed
because the accused assailant was liked by members of the unit.
“The Marines do great,” said
Kaufman. “We love how they use their training and specific values to intervene.
Even the young ones do great.”
Kaufman said sexual assault is still
an epidemic both in the military and in civilian society.
“We need to change the perceptions
of sexual assault and it’s all done through education,” said Col. David Jones,
commanding officer, Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools. “This is just
another tool we can give to the Marines.”
The use of interaction and the
believable actors worked.
“I saw Marines stand up today and
make a difference during this training,” said Shirley Stevens, the sexual
assault response coordinator with MCCSSS. “They weren’t just sitting there
distracted; they were paying attention and getting involved.”
Praxis has been travelling to Navy and Marine Corps installations around the
globe since 2014.