We are less than two weeks away from debuting at the Toronto Fringe Festival, and we have a bunch of blogs that I wanted to post, but I feel it impossible to move forward until we address the recent events in the news.
Amidst a scandal revealed by Oscar-nominated film The Hunting Ground where ivy league universities are concealing on-campus rapes to the police and condoning the behaviours of students that commit repeated sexual assaults, a letter from a Stanford graduate to her rapist has gone viral (read it here). A former Stanford freshman who raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster was sentenced to a mere 6 months in jail. The judge feared that a longer sentence might have a "severe impact on him" and his possible Olympic career. The rapist's father stated that his son should not have to go to prison for "20 minutes of action". The judge and this father clearly have no idea that rape affects the survivor's life too. A victim of rape is pushed aside and made to feel less important once again.
Less than a week ago, a man entered a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and killed 49 people, making it the largest mass shooting in US history. To this day, politicians and others are refusing to call this a hate crime. The LGBTQ community is suffering once again.
Where do we go from here? We are literally killing each other because we are losing touch with what makes us human. We are shutting off from each other instead of coming together and growing stronger. It is easier to hate than to love and instead of trying to understand each other, we grow angry. Our society does not want to acknowledge or discuss the fact that we live in a culture where rape and assault is condoned.
I am saying "we" because it is time to take responsibility for what is happening. The left wing blames the right wing. The right blames the left. The atheists blame religion. The religions blame each other. The people blame the government. Minorities grow more divided and we become obsessed with blaming something: the parenting, the lack of parenting, the kids at school, the TV, video games, the music, the gays, the straights, the gun holders, the schools, alcohol ... we are not putting the blame and responsibility where it belongs: us. ME. What can I do so this stops happening?
Read the Stanford survivor's letter and know the people who were killed in Orlando. Speak up when someone calls something "gay" or when you see someone who may need your help. Know what "consent" means (sober and enthusiastic!). Talk about what is going on with the people around you. March in the Pride Parade this month whether you are queer, straight, white, black, Asian, Islamic, Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim ... show that these kind of attacks affect all of us.
This is the reason why I wanted to be a part of SExT. Because I am not happy with how we are treating each other. There is a deep hatred of women and a deep hatred of LGBTQ that exists and it needs to be addressed and extinguished. This kind of hatred exists when we don't understand. So we need to start young and we need to teach this in our schools. Math is important but how we treat each other is how we survive as a human race.
Let's move forward from this but let's not forget.
- Post by Elena Juatco, Actor & SExT Creative Facilitator
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