Marines get blunt sex talk to prevent assault

Improv training tests misconceptions about “Sex Signals,” rape

By Gretel C. Kovach

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The Marines in the Camp Pendleton base theater had been briefed on the topic repeatedly, according to the groans and hands that shot up when they were asked, “Who is sick of talking about sexual assault training?”

The Defense Department has bombarded them in recent years with information about the rising incidence of sexual assault among their ranks, and dedicated increasing resources to stop it.

But audience reaction to the uncomfortable scenes acted out last week during sexual assault training at Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar showed how far the military, and society at large, has yet to go.

“Sex Signals,” a series of skits and guided discussions led by civilian actors from Catharsis Productions, also demonstrated that role-playing and blunt, bawdy talk make more memorable sexual assault training than slide shows.