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November 20, 2009
Vol. 51 No. 10

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Student-written play raises rape awareness

"The Many" is an original one-act play written by senior Darla Spangler about different types of sexual assault. The play will be performed tonight and tomorrow at 9 p.m. in Degenstein Theater and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in Isaacs Auditorium.

"The play is a series of different monologues about people who have experienced sexual assault in some capacity," Spangler said. "What makes it different is that it critiques the society we live in as perpetuating sexual violence."

Senior Ashley Melton, who has been assisting Spangler with advertising the production, called Spangler's work "an awesome chance" for the university to begin breaking down multiple sexual violence myths.

"We have so many survivors right here within our community," Melton said. "It is time that we all learned what the facts are about this horrible form of violence."

Spangler is a theatre and sociology double major with a minor in women's studies.
She said that the play originated from her summer internship with the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) in Washington, D.C.

According to Worth Magazine, RAINN is the largest anti-sexual assault organization in the country and is also listed as one of "America's 100 Best Charities." Spangler said that many of the boundaries keeping people from properly addressing sexual violence stem from misconceptions about gender, sex and rape.

"When I interned at RAINN and looked at literature for other rape crisis centers, [...] the brochures and the Web site pictures did not denote inclusivity at all. It was rare to see men or the elderly in the literature. It further enables the idea that it is impossible for a man to get raped. And as for the elderly, ageism is so prevalent that they are ignored and obviously seen as sexless beings."

"Male rape victims are a fact," she added. According to, 2.78 million men in the U.S. have been victims of sexual assault or rape. One in six women and one in 33 men will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime.

She said: "I had always wanted to write a play, and I love social justice theatre. So when I found out I had to do a service learning project for Karol Weaver's 'History of Feminist Thought' class, I jumped at doing this."

She added: "And I have enjoyed everything about this because I feel like it fully synthesizes my interests [of] theatre and creativity and social justice, and I feel it doesn't happen often for me. They have always been distinct realms that never meet."

Spangler said that though the elements from her writings are based on her internship and literature she has read, the characters and events are completely fictional. The cast for the one-act play will include freshmen Glenn Anderson and Erin Hoxie and junior Aulden Dion.

Spangler said: "It's [...] a sobering thought that sex in our culture is often conflated with violence and, in a way, normalizes it and desensitizes us to it. The way it is portrayed is rarely an act of mutual consent.

"The act of rape is more likely to be seen as sexual in nature than as an act of power and dominance. That's really all rape is."

Tickets for the play will be $5 at the door.


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