SASEBO, Japan (NNS) –Sailors, Master Labor Contractors, and civilian employees aboard Commander U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo attended and participated in a performance by Pure Praxis on July 21 and 22, 2016. The interactive training focused on bystander intervention and how sexual assault survivors are treated.
Pure Praxis is a social theater group that uses performance education workshops to empower service members and provide the skills necessary to become active bystanders.
“Our premise is based on the Brazilian technique called theater of the oppressed,” said Nicole Snell, “It’s a technique of getting the audience involved in the actual performance to create social change.”
Because many sexual assaults go unreported, statistics with sexual assault aren’t considered to be accurate. The numbers that are used are only the numbers that are reported. In the military, anonymous surveys show that males are more often the victims than females, however, reports of sexual assault don't match the anonymous surveys. Because of this, the Navy is actively working to foster command climates in which every member feels comfortable coming forward.
“Personally, I think the Navy is way ahead of the problem compared to the civilian sector,” said Lt. Nicole Scherer, Commander, Naval Region Japan, Commander, Naval Forces Japan SAPR officer. “Every unrestricted report is taken seriously and is required to be investigated, and civilians don't even have the equivalent of a restricted report.”
Pure Praxis is sponsored by the Department of the Navy Sexual Assault Prevention Response Office and travels to different bases around the world to provide their training performances. The Navy is moving away from PowerPoint presentations and looking for alternative training strategies to reach Sailors. According to Scherer, the SAPR Office and Pacific Fleet are making investments in training as part of the resilient workforce campaign.
“Interactive training like Pure Praxis or ‘Can I Kiss You?’ is a huge investment, but well worth it if the training resonates with the audience in a way that computer-based training can't,” said Scherer. “Effective training is an investment in people, and our Sailors are our most valuable asset.”
Pure Praxis has 32 total employees that travel in groups of eight. Each group is comprised of a program manager, two facilitators, and five actors. A team travels to approximately two to three different locations a month, and performances are held one to three times every day while there. Kelly Pfleider, company president and founder, lead the team that visited Sasebo.
“One of the positive comments I heard about Pure Praxis at CFAS was that the training was, ‘right up there with Shipboard Firefighting training,’” said Scherer. “It's important, it's hands-on, and because of that its training that you won't forget easily.”