California Educator

June 2013

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> D AT E R A P E her school was date-raped. She looked for a play that students could perform to address the issue. Finding nothing appropriate, the Association of Piedmont Teachers member decided to write something herself. Once students got wind of the project, a few came forward, sharing their own experiences of being date-raped and coping with the aftermath. From their BY SHERRY POSNICK-GOODWIN stories she created PHOTOS BY SCOTT BUSCHMAN a play, performed by students every fall at an assem"He was my first boyfriend," says one girl. bly for freshmen. "I'd never been drunk before," says another. "It's very pow"I didn't have a good feeling about the erful," says Taylor. "The girls feel whole situation," adds a third. a lot of empathy for the characters The girls are on a stage, performing at they play. I want people to know that it a school assembly. Their characters relate happens, and that if it happens to you, you experiences based on real-life incidents of are not alone." date rape. During the play, two female performers stand onstage while another sits on a stool It could happen to anyone. — each in a spotlight — taking turns relatMost girls think it will never happen to them, ing experiences of former Piedmont High even though one in six women is the victim School students. One girl was raped by a of a sexual assault, according to National jealous ex-boyfriend who saw her flirting at Sexual Assault Hotline statistics. Two-thirds a party. Another was raped by a college boy of rapes are committed by someone the vicshe met at a party. tim knows. Date rapes are the hardest type of "It is a hard role to play," says student sexual assault to prove, especially if the vicactress Sarah Reed-Guy. "It's hard to tackle tim has been drinking. Most go unreported. this subject and do the story justice. People What's the best way to teach teens that came forward with their stories, and I want rape is not always committed by a man in to honor that in a respectful way." a dark alley holding a weapon? That someActress Katie Milne hopes students will times a boyfriend, a cute guy at a party or be more aware of their surroundings. "The someone considcommon mindset is that something like ered a friend can this doesn't happen in Piedmont, which is force himself on a safe community." a girl — especially The play has evolved, as more students if she has been have come forward to share experiences. drinking? They include a student whose "friend" Piedmont High slipped Rohipnol, a date rape drug, into School drama her Diet Coke at a party and sexually teacher Kim assaulted her. Taylor pondered Most Piedmont High School students this question told nobody or just a few people, says Taylor. Katie Milne eight years ago None reported the crime to the police at the after a student at time of the rape. Teacher-written play educates students about date rape 28 Taylor has a folder full of handwritten accounts from students — some of whom have come back to the school years later, cloaked Sarah Reed-Guy in the anonymity of a dark theater, to see their stories told and to know they are not alone. Bringing boys on board The high school made national news last fall when administrators discovered a "Fantasy Slut League" where male students recorded "points" after engaging in sexual activities with female students that often involved pressure, manipulation and alcohol to impair judgment. Taylor says Piedmont High School has a commitment to developing programs that address honor, integrity and respect for others, and the Date Rape Prevention Assembly is one of them. Taylor asked male students to share their experiences and point of view. From this she created two male composite characters. One is a "nice guy" who respects women. The other is a "creep" who sees nothing wrong with taking advantage of girls and claims they are "asking for it" if they are drunk or scantily clad. "I wanted guys to become a partner in preventing this. Men need to realize that just because a girl doesn't say no doesn't mean she is saying yes. We're all in this together." LESSONS FOR STUDENTS When someone is drunk, they cannot give their consent. It doesn't matter what a girl is wearing. If a girl says no, she means no. Girls need to be clear with messages. It is important for friends to watch out for each other. Girls should get their own drink and watch it carefully when socializing. California Educator June/July 2013 Educator 06 June 2013 v2.0.indd 28 6/14/13 9:30 PM

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