Feds Spend $20,000 on Play About ‘Rape Culture’

Play will be shown in schools and colleges across the state

May 26, 2016

The National Endowment for the Arts is spending $20,000 to produce a play about "rape culture."

The Girl Be Heard Institute in New York City received the funding for the production and tour of "Rape Culture/Consent," which will be shown in schools and colleges across the state.

"The devised documentary theater and movement piece will be comprised of primary-source accounts from women and girls in New York City and beyond," the grant for the project said. "It will be developed, written, and performed by Girl Be Heard Company members."

"The company will engage young women and LGBTQ youth of all classes and races through open-call auditions and communication with community centers and schools in underserved communities," the agency said. "The show will be submitted to the New York International Fringe Festival and subsequently tour to schools and universities throughout New York."

"Post-show talkbacks will enable audiences to engage with performers and directors and may include policy experts to deepen the audience’s understanding of and connection to the play's issues," they added.

The nonprofit theater company’s motto is "staging the revolution." The group says they have performed for the White House, the State Department, the United Nations, and at TED talks.

"Girl Be Heard uses theater to lead young girls to find their strength and realize their potential by helping them express their anger, fears, hopes, and dreams so that they can channel those emotions into maturity and empowerment," the theater company explains on its website.

Marshall University defines "rape culture" as "an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture."

"Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety," the university said.

Marshall University’s list of examples of rape culture includes sexually explicit jokes, "pressure on men to ‘score,’" and "pressure on women to not appear ‘cold.’"