Just before Valentine’s Day, Kimberly DeVries, Title IX coordinator for Grand Rapids Community College, and Lina Blair, Director of Student Life worked with “Mission Improvable” to remind students about consent. Only about a dozen attended.
Mission IMPROVable is a Chicago-based improv comedy group that does multiple different comedy sets on important topics like sexual assault, alcohol use, and topics that are just for fun.
On Wednesday Feb. 12, the troop sent two of their special comedy agents to take on the mission of making a talk about consent both socially progressive and funny.
The duo did multiple sketches exhibiting both good and bad scenarios, covering multiple big topics about sexual assault. Some of which are alcohol as a factor, victim blaming based on clothing or past choices, and college sexual assault vs. other types.
One such sketch the duo performed was a fictional story about Cynthia, her boyfriend Joe played by George, and her terrible friend played by Ferry. Cynthia puts on something ‘sexy’ and goes to a party with her boyfriend and they immediately start making out and dancing. George pretending to dance and make out with no one was impressive. Cynthia’s friend leaves the party without ever hearing from her friend until the next morning when Cynthia tells her friend she was raped.
They asked the audience what went wrong in this scenario and someone from the audience said, “Cynthia’s got a bad friend.”
“Yes, it’s not about what happened before, or what someone’s wearing, or how much they’ve drank,” said Ferry. George backed Ferry up with statistics. “Drinking happens in college, be careful though. 90% of college sexual assaults involve alcohol.”
The duo also engaged the audience to volunteer to help demonstrate a three pronged defense system. Separate is to pull the potential victim out of a dangerous situation.
Enlist is to get help.
“If you ask a bartender for an angel shot, they will know or they will look it up and find out, it means “help me,” in the industry,” said Ferry.
Distract is to engage the ‘aggressor’ until the potential victim can leave the situation.
When all three were employed, the volunteers decided to have one fake a heart attack while the others called for help and made room for medics.
Ferry explained that they seek to make talking about heavy situations a more “engaging and responsive interaction.”
“Humor makes people feel less vulnerable,” said Ferry.