Talent Show for Sexual Abuse Awareness

Every student has at one point or another been warned of the potential dangers of college life. Many of these dangers are not merely the result of an adventurous lifestyle and can happen to virtually anyone.
We’ve all been informed of the dangers of sexual assault and rape and we’ve been given advice on how to protect ourselves from becoming victims. However, the majority of college students fail to realize how close to home these dangers lie. The Center for Disease Control reported that between 20 and 25 percent of women in American colleges have experienced either rape or attempted rape.
Many organizations and associations have formed in order to better educate and counsel students on protecting themselves, the largest of which is an organization called Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. RAINN reports that ‘every two-and-a-half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.’
The organization is a nationwide partnership that provides rape victims with free, confidential services. Their Web site reports that the hotline helped 137,039 sexual assault victims in 2005 and more than one million since it began in 1994.
RAINN’s benefactors range from media networks, corporations, individuals across the United States and now, a talent show at UC Irvine.
On Nov. 11, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Little Theatre in the Humanities Building, UCI students are being given a chance to showcase their talents while supporting RAINN. From comedy skits and break dancing to live bands and songs, the talent show ensures a night of entertainment for the public at an $8 admission price.
100 percent of the profit will be donated to RAINN. The show will be judged and prizes will be awarded.
The heart and soul of the talent show is second-year undeclared arts major Danielle Kirkwood. She finds inspiration in RAINN’s cause and realizes the importance of creating awareness of these issues.
According to Kirkwood, ‘three-quarters of rapes are committed by good friends or acquaintances, and very rarely by strangers.’
Kirkwood also said that few rapes get reported and even a smaller percentage of reported cases go to trial. Her main goal is to show that ‘women are blamed for dressing a certain way as opposed to be offered the support they need. If we don’t offer them support, they won’t report it.’
Kikwood has a valid point: Community support is the key factor to reducing and preventing sexual assault and rape. By taking some time out of our lives to participate and attend functions such as these, we make it clear that our campus is in fact supportive of these victims and that we don’t tolerate any type of sexual harassment or assault. Kirkwood advises women to ‘be aware’ and men to ‘respect women’s boundaries.’ Sexual assault is a serious offense and should not be taken lightly in any way. It is illegal in every state and the consequences are grave.
More information about RAINN and their programs can be found at http://www.rainn.org or their free and confidential 24-hour hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE. You can also visit Mandy Mount, one of the judges for the talent show, and the director of the Campus Assault Research and Education Center at UCI AVC-Counseling and Health Services for more information about campus counseling and related services.
Although the talent show is approaching quickly, it is not too late to participate. If you are interested in participating, please contact Danielle Kirkwood at dkirkwoo@uci.edu.