SUFFOLK, Va. — Performance group members of Department of the Navy (DON) Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office’s (SAPRO) Pure Praxis Training shared difficult life situations with Sailors and Navy civilians located at Suffolk Area Information Warfare Commands, April 13.
Pure Praxis is a socially adaptive performance contracted with DON SAPRO and based out of Long Beach, California. Together they work with Sailors, Marines and Navy civilians both domestically and internationally. Their performances use improvisational theater to rehearse for difficult life situations so that the audience can practice positive, creative and safe solutions. The entire show is guided by the audience’s participation, which makes every performance unique.
“The Pure Praxis approach has proven extremely popular with the Navy audiences and feedback from last year’s engagement on the DoD Suffolk Complex was great,” said Naval Information Forces Chief of Staff, Capt. Bill Chase. “We wanted to give more of our shipmates the opportunity to see this engaging method that makes the tough issues more approachable.”
Navy-wide feedback has identified this training as highly effective in order to help eliminate sexual assaults. The training is required for all unit level leadership or front line supervisors (E-5 to O-4) to facilitate the face-to-face interaction with Sailors and to continue efforts to educate and reduce alcohol abuse, particularly binge drinking, which is one of five initiatives by the Chief of Naval Operations to help end the scourge of sexual assault.
“I thought the Pure Praxis actors were great,” said Naval Network Warfare Command’s Information System Technician Petty Officer Second Class Timothy Knudson. “Their program not only allowed us to observe real-world situations, but I know I personally got a lot out of the program when they called me and others to join the actors on stage.”
Knudson and others had the opportunity to participate in several of the group’s scenarios and each ‘role player’ walked away with a different outlook on what constituted sexual assault.
Kelly Pfleider, founder and president of Pure Praxis, has been the lead with her Performance Education Workshop’s social theater group and the special relationship they’ve shared with all branches of the U.S. military since 2014.
“Since we began introducing Pure Praxis to the military, I’ve noticed changes in these communities,” said Pfleider. “They [the military] have a desire to make the right changes to their culture. Sexual assault survivors come in all forms and from numerous backgrounds and it’s important to get the conversations out there. You never know when someone may need you to listen to their story and your support.”
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