Hamilton parody used to capture nuances of sexual assault during Passages

Graphic from Consent Workshop Presentation

The following article contains potentially triggering information regarding sexual assault.  Resources are available below.

By Bella Sanchez 

 On Aug. 21, first-years filed into Schneebeck for a Sexual Assault Awareness presentation from Title IX office and the Office of Student Support. The Consent Workshop replaces the Green Dot Training, previously administered by the late Marta Cady.

  The presentation drew considerable attention and feedback for its handling of such sensitive material–most notably, the event featured a video performance of Hamilton’s “The Room Where it Happens,” lyrically adjusted to address themes of sexual assault, specifically in a party setting involving alcohol (the full video can be viewed using the QR Code below).

  With lyrics like “Dan is grappling with the fact that not every woman wants to show him her titties,” responses from the crowd were critical, one calling it “tacky.” The video centered on a narrative surrounding slut-shaming and how outsiders have no way of knowing what events occur behind closed doors. While the video intends to discourage this narrative, the way the message is presented and handled is insensitive and hinders a progressive, holistic conversation about assault. The presentation failed to mention how, according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, 80% of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. 

  The rest of the evening consisted of education on boundaries and allyship, looking to the audience for input on how they would react during specific encounters. During the moments when audience participation was encouraged, several individuals volunteered personal anecdotes about their experiences with assault. 

  Two Counseling, Health and Wellness Services counselors were in the building to offer support to the individuals exiting the building for a break from the sensitive subject matter. 

  With a shortage of qualified figures to support the 100 or so first-years attending this talk, some students were left in distress and many ended up leaving in the middle of this important presentation. 

  This year, Peer Allies is being reworked through the Office for Student Support and BRAVe. In an era of reckoning with sexual violence for colleges and universities across the country, The Trail will continue to cover the development of these programs.