NEWS | April 18, 2012

Weapons Station increases sexual assault awareness through humor

By Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Hudson Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Sailors assigned to Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station increased their sexual assault awareness skills in an unusual way April 18. By utilizing humor about this serious subject, as well as active participation by Sailors during an improvisational show, personnel now have the training to help prevent, identify and intervene against sexual assaults.

Hosted by Catharsis Productions, 'Sex Signals' is spreading like a wildfire throughout the military with their new spin on raising awareness on sexual assault .

The program provides insight, education and takes a provocative look into issues of sexual assault. By blending a unique combination of improvisation, humor and audience participation, service members will be empowered with knowledge to help prevent assaults from happening.

"This show is a very unconventional, but is a brilliant way of showing Sailors what sexual assault is," said Tiffany Mizzel, JB Charleston - Weapons Station Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. "I was really impressed with how they got all the Sailors to interact with them and ask questions. I think this show cleared up some people's confusion about situations that may lead to a sexual assault.

"Their message was loud and clear about what sexual assault is, how it can be prevented and how we can help each other by understanding what we are seeing and how to intervene if need be," Mizzel said.

The overall theme of the show stressed the importance of consent, making sure that Sailors understood that a 'yes' could still turn into a 'no'.

The show also re-enacted a scene that placed emphasis on bystander intervention. During the scene, the actors asked Sailors to participate by holding up a 'stop' sign during the skit when they felt the situation had gone too far.

"I felt that the comedy definitely made the subject easier to listen to and understand," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jennifer Bascara assigned to Naval Support Activity Charleston at JB Charleston - Weapons Station. "It brought a very realistic light to what we have already been taught, but in a much more relatable way."

Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Thurman, a Yeoman assigned to Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, felt that the 'Sex Signals' training was 100 percent on the right track to help reach out to the junior ranks.

"This was really great," Thurman said after the show. "I think people will pay more attention to this type of training, especially with all the humor they have managed to add in. It is very up-to-date and that is what is going to get the younger generation to really pay attention, relate better and understand it."

Sexual assault prevention and response is an essential element of today's military, making it each and every service member's responsibility to report and/or intervene when a situation seems out of hand. Navy and Air Force personnel receive training year-round about sexual assault awareness with the goal to aggressively prevent assaults and support victims.

"Sexual assault is a serious issue which no one should take lightly," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jinnett Santos, a culinary specialist at the JB Charleston - Weapons Station Galley. "This show was genius, very in-depth with a lot of good information that needed to be talked about. They made the subject light but there was a serious note throughout the plays with a very clear message - no means no and watch out for each other, whether that's a shipmate, friend or spouse. It is important that we take care of each other."