Looking at sexual assault

Play offers understanding of issue

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When friends of Miranda Kipe, an 18-year-old senior at Moffat County High School, were in trouble she said they came to her rather than an adult.

"I had a couple of friends go through traumatic experiences and they came and told me about it," said Miranda Kipe, an 18-year-old senior at Moffat County High School. "They told me what happened and I tried to help and direct them to the resources they needed to get help. You can always talk to a peer better than you can an adult."

Kipe is a member of PReVENT, a teen group that works to raise awareness of domestic abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment and violence in general.

PReVENT, which is run through the local Advocates Crisis Support Services, consists of 14 local teenagers who work to educate their peers about assault and violence prevention.

In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the group has invited a performance group from Colorado State University this weekend to perform "Until Someone Wakes Up," a production intended to help people come to a better understanding of sexual violence.

Two free performances will be offered at 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Craig Middle School Auditorium.

An edited performance will be performed at 3 p.m. and the full performance will be shown at 7 p.m.

Kipe, who saw the performance in Glenwood Springs, said it is a powerful portrayal of what happens in cases of sexual violence.

"It's tough to watch," she said. "I cried for more than a quarter of it. There are such strong emotions involved and you get caught up in it. You start to feel what they must have felt when it happened even though it is impossible to know exactly what they are going through unless it happens to you."

She warned that the play is geared toward mature audiences.

"Everyone should see it if they are old enough to understand it," she said. "It deals with issues children should not be subjected to."

People will gain a better understanding of what victims of sexual assault go through, she said.

"It's a visual way of showing the emotions behind victims of rape," she said. "It shows how victims perceive what has happened to them and what they must do to go on living. It's definitely a good idea for anybody in high school to see it. Most people don't realize it could happen to any of us."

Karen Aragon, Advocates volunteer and youth services coordinator, has also seen the performance.

"It's an unbelievable performance," she said. "It's hard to watch but it is very important. It educates people about sexual assault and gives them a clear idea of what it is."

Between January and March of this year, Aragon said Advocates has received 30 reports of sexual assault an increase from last year.

But this is not an indication of how often it is really occurring, she said.

"Statistics show that a very small percentage of victims report being assaulted," she said. "The 30 calls we have received is probably a very small percentage of what's out there. People don't realize how often it occurs in this area."

This performance is important for people to see, she said.

"It's extremely important especially for young people," she said. "Most victims are assaulted by people with whom they are acquainted."

Kipe said she hopes people come to learn from the show.

"It happens more than anyone wants to believe," she said. "Victims are ashamed and don't want anyone to know. The more awareness we can get, the better chance we have of stopping it. It can happen to anybody and everybody."

The PReVENT group responsible for bringing this performance to Craig deserves credit, Aragon said.

"They're an amazing group of kids," she said. "They really want to make a difference."

For more information about Saturday's performances, people can call Aragon at

824-9709.

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