The Greater Manchester Police Department (GMP) and the University of Manchester have partnered to fund a series of thought-provoking interactive theater performances and workshops led by Manchester-based charity Odd Arts that work with students to resolve issues of the Consent and sexual challenge and investigate attacks.
The workshops are designed to encourage students to consider when and how to intervene if they experience incidents of sexual misconduct in their own lives and to educate them about consent issues by having the actors perform a range of punchy and sometimes uncomfortable scenarios these allow audiences to stop the performance to discuss how they would react in the situation.
The initiative is part of GMP’s ongoing commitment to combating incidents of sexual assault and rape by building trust in reporting, providing appropriate support to victims from specially trained officers, and raising awareness of rape and sexual assault.
The force is working closely with partners such as St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Center, Survivors Manchester and the Crown Prosecution Service to improve conviction rates in Greater Manchester so that criminals are held accountable for this heinous crime.
GMP has partnered with the university to partially fund the workshops, using money from an initiative aimed at facilitating evidence-based practices and problem-solving within policing. It is hoped that the workshops will give students the confidence and knowledge to safely highlight inappropriate behavior by raising awareness of the “gray area” of consent that can affect students on all campuses. On Tuesday, April 27, 2021, representatives from GMP, the University of Manchester and Odd Arts unveiled the initiative at the Westminster Higher Education Forum and discussed next steps to tackle sexual misconduct in higher education, a major national forum to tackle sexual misconduct Misconduct.
Paul Savill, GMP’s Chief Superintendent, said, “Sexual assault is a terrible crime that can have an enormous physical, emotional and psychological impact on victims. GMP continues to work hard to make victims more confident by responding appropriately to each report and working with our partners to support victims throughout the criminal process.
“However, as a force, we are also focused on reducing the crime rate and making sure everyone in Greater Manchester feels safe by raising awareness about the issue of consent. These interactive theater performances and workshops do just that, and provide Greater Manchester students with the knowledge and understanding they need to safely challenge and know what support is available to them.
“We partnered with the University of Manchester on this important initiative because we wanted to get a clear message across to our student population and victims of sexual assault. We are committed to fighting sexual assault and are here to support the victims. If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police or a support agency so that you can get the help and support available. “
Spencer Davies, Director of Advice and Response at the University of Manchester, said, “This is an important new way we can involve students on these issues and empower them to report and report inappropriate behavior.
“All students are entitled to a safe experience on campus and support is available to anyone who needs it.”
Meg Fenwick of Odd Arts said, “What theater allows is the opportunity to experience something as if it were happening. As you work with trauma and learn to become an active bystander, the somatic experience of the intervention leaves an impression on the body and mind. This means that we are able to better question negative behavior.
“Friends and family are likely the first place a victim will turn for help. The play ‘Gray Area’ gives students the opportunity to rehearse how they could react in order to best support the victim of sexual assault. “