Community Town Hall

Power & Sexual Assault in the Arts: An Intimate Discussion


The next Town Hall will be Sunday, April 23, 2017 at Cathexis from 2-5pm; located at 250 Bell Street downtown Reno.


Educators, advocates, artists, students and administrators are all encouraged and welcome to attend. The event is free and open to the public.


One of our themes this round will be something panelist Justine Hernandez calls The Bystander Challenge. From my perspective, The Bystander Challenge moves the onus from the silo of solely the personal responsibility of the target, to a shared responsibility for the target's well-being by challenging those in the victim's immediate environment and peer group in a social setting to interrupt the action in subtle or direct ways. Each one of us who sees a predatory act in progress would then engage and interrupt the process and not simply sit idly by and watch a sexual assault or potential sexual assault happen as it is clearly developing. The discussion then goes from awareness and information to engagement and prevention--much the way an individual might interact with someone who has had too much to drink, but still is considering driving. We know the consequences of getting behind the wheel and how damaging that decision can be to both the driver and to public safety. Now that process of intervention (designated drivers, give me your keys, I called you an Uber, etc) is part of the culture and there is no guilt or shame associated with that type of preventative action for the public good. If sexual assault were treated in the same way, I agree that it could begin to transform the way we see sexual assault and impact the outcome of unwanted encounters tremendously.


I am so inspired and grateful to have learned about this from Justine and am eager to share this with those coming to this next Town Hall. The idea I have is to bring in local actors to role play some common scenarios that people find themselves in socially and provide education on how to interrupt these encounters and tamp them out, while giving several options on best practices in those examples--including how not to do it. Lots of potential here to share and learn.


We invite the arts community to come to this, our third Power & Sexual Assault in the Arts Community Town Hall during this, Sexual Assault Awareness Month.