Story Number: NNS140620-05Release Date: 6/20/2014 10:32:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyrell K. Morris, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of the Navy, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (DON SAPRO), awarded a contract to Kirkland Productions and the InterACT Performance troupe June 10.
InterACT is a nationally renowned social justice performance troupe which started at California State University, Long Beach. Since 2000, InterACT has provided sexual assault intervention programs for universities, juvenile detention facilities, housing projects, after-school programs, and drug/alcohol rehabilitation centers.
The contract runs until Feb. 2015 with two one-year options thereafter.
Jill Loftus, director, DON SAPRO, said the goal is to train service members to feel comfortable to walk into a situation and intervene.
"Previously, we've been doing sexual assault awareness training to spot situations that could potentially result in a sexual assault," said Loftus. "The next step is knowing what to do when you find yourself in that situation."
The InterACT troupe presents complicated, realistic scenes about domestic violence and sexual assault, and invites audience members to enact possible interventions on stage.
During the scenarios, performers involve the audience through crowd participation and the actors play against the Sailors to provide different alternative situations. No props are required for the skits so they can perform anywhere to reach a vast majority of sailors and marines stationed worldwide. The performances allow audience members a safe space to rehearse assertive communication strategies and inspire social and political change.
The main focus of the training will be the Navy "A" schools. The first show will take place mid-July in Great Lakes, Illinois.
"From a department standpoint we hope this gives us a foundation for our sailors and marines to take care of each other," said Loftus.
The interactive training is something Sailors and Marines around the fleet suggested when they were asked for feedback on SAPR training.
"The way that InterACT performs their shows is different from any of the other performances we've seen," said Andrea Bryant, training specialist for DON SAPRO. "Sailors and Marines will be participants instead of merely observers to make the training interactive."
InterACT has been recognized for raising awareness about sexual assault, being highly involving, promoting emphatic and comforting responses from audience members, and providing a model where audience members can rehearse proactive behaviors that can potentially disrupt a sexual assault episode.
For more information and resources to combat sexual assault, visit the SAPR website www.sapr.navy.mil.