University of Iowa News Release
March 23, 2005
UI Vigil, Opera Performance Part Of Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and organizers at the University of Iowa have planned a full slate of lectures, performances and special events to mark the occasion, including a candlelight vigil.
The UI's Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) and the UI Opera Program kick things off with paired events Friday, April 1, in Clapp Recital Hall: "RANT!," an interactive lecture/performance by stand-up comedian Gail Stern (right), at 6 p.m. followed at 8 p.m. by the UI Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater's presentation of "The Rape of Lucretia," Benjamin Britten's chamber opera that provides contemporary and religious perspectives to an ancient story of sexual violence.
Stern's presentation of "RANT!" is free and open to the public, but tickets must be purchased through the Hancher Box Office for the opera production. For details on "The Rape of Lucretia" - which will also be performed at 8 p.m. April 2 and 2 p.m. April 3 -- visit http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu or see an earlier release on the performance.
Created by the Oak Park, Ill., based company Catharsis Productions, "RANT!" will help participants build connections between the ways society has historically used epithets to dehumanize minority groups and the way society today uses words to objectify women. Participants will be asked to challenge the acceptance of these words, to identify what purposes they serve, and to question their ultimate impact. Stern uses her years of experience in stand-up and improvisational comedy to lighten the tension and create a safe, fun environment to discuss these ideas.
The production grew out of Stern's work with the Chicago Task Force on Hate Crimes Against Women, and was initially designed as a means of training prosecutors and law enforcement officers in Illinois how to use the "gender component" of the Illinois Hate Crime Statute. The statute allows for crimes determined to be motivated by an offender's bias against a specific group because of their race, national origin, creed, color, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, religion or gender to be charged as a more serious crime.
Other events scheduled for the month - all free and open to the public and sponsored entirely or in part by RVAP -- include:
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored programs. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in these programs, please contact RVAP in advance at 335-6001.
RVAP provides confidential, accessible support and advocacy to victim/survivors of sexual abuse and their friends and family members. RVAP also works to create a community free from sexual violence by providing education and prevention strategies and by promoting social change, and it operates the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline.
For more information about RVAP or the Sexual Assault Awareness Month events, visit the RVAP website at www.uiowa.edu/~rvap.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.
MEDIA CONTACT: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, firstname.lastname@example.org.