By MYCAH LEWIS
Wednesday night saw the encore performance of Diamond in the Rough. What began as a project by Defiance College students Mandie Heil and Dorothy Pascol for Dr. Chris Medjesky’s Communication and Performance class last spring, has become a full production performed for the Defiance community
The production of Diamond in the Rough was performed by 14 DC students and is meant to shine light on the issues of sexual assault and domestic abuse. It seeks to change the way individuals and communities view the issues of sexual assault and domestic abuse, through the use of music, dance and drama.
The audience was able to participate by waving the glow sticks handed to them as they walked in. At the end of the production, the glow sticks were left as a way to bring light to the pain and hopelessness that victims of sexual and physical abuse are left with.
DC Nurse Judy Thrasher, an advisor for the Diamond in the Rough production, stressed the importance of “believ[ing] the victims of [assault cases]. Only 2% of sexual assaults are false reports, about the same as false reports with other crimes.”
A common cultural misconception is women are the only victims of sexual assault. While much of what was portrayed on the Schomburg stage was about sexual and physical violence at the hands of male partners, attention was brought to males, both opposite and same sex relationships, experiences with sexual and physical violence. It is this kind of misunderstanding, as well as the all too common belief that women are in some way responsible, that the performers of Diamond in the Rough try to rectify.
Much of how the general population views topics such as sexual abuse, can be traced to how we have allowed certain degrading beliefs to take control of artistic expressions such as music and the media. As new generations are brought into the world, they are bombarded with music and opinions on the internet, that tend to put down women.
If major changes are to be seen in the way that communities view and handle abuse cases, whether they be sexual or physical, then communities will have to “changing the way language has been allowed to degrade and sexualize women” says Nurse Thrasher. Educating individuals about how to respect and trust the pain of others begins at a young age; and by doing so, can help decrease the amount of cases that are written off as false.
The Defiance College community spreads awareness about this sensitive issues, but the efforts do not always ‘pack the students in.’ Junior Toni- Ann Boyd said it would be more helpful if “the college offered more fun, engaging [events], to spread awareness, instead of just throwing information at the students.”
Defiance College currently offers Sex Signals, a presentation given to all incoming freshman which employs humor to help bring awareness to sexual assault and how to avoid it. On top of offering more engaging events for the students, DC could also open up events to the community to further spread awareness to the city, and not just the campus.
Diamond in the Rough was a one night only production this semester. Future performances are currently being planned for the annual National Crimes Week in April, which is held in the city of Defiance. The production was a success in getting its message across to the audience, and would be a welcome annual event for both the community and Defiance College.