- Associated Press - Saturday, April 29, 2017

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) - A western Wisconsin woman’s play focusing on sexual abuse of military members by their superiors and peers will be featured in San Diego.

The American History Theater is sponsoring Rachel Carter’s play, “Speaking Out: Why I Stand,” at the Women’s Museum of California from July 21 to 23, the La Crosse Tribune (https://bit.ly/2pXJBB7 ) reported. The theater also has hired her to lead workshops for survivors of military sexual trauma that weekend.

The La Crosse woman created the play in 2013 by pulling together stories and poems of assaults she and others endured in the military.

“I spent over six years drowning in silence because I thought I was the only one,” Carter said.

Carter said she was inspired to create the play after seeing the documentary “The Invisible War,” which unveiled the depths of a sexual assault scandal in the military.

“I realized that I wasn’t alone and that I needed to stand up and speak out,” Carter said. “This theater project was a way for survivors and loved ones to share their stories and poems anonymously or with their first names. It gave them an outlet and helped them feel a part of this movement toward awareness and justice - even if they are not in a place to put their face in front of it.”

Carter said that the American History Theater’s decision to stage the play is gratifying to her because it will help raise awareness of the extent of military sexual trauma.

“The other important part of getting the play out there and into a theater like the American History Theater is that not only are these stories being heard across the country but also, hopefully, more survivors will hear them and realize they are not alone,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the survivors because it has helped them feel like their story - what happened to them - matters and that people are finally listening to what they have to say.”

The 45-minute play premiered with a cast of 15 area actors at The Muse Theater in La Crosse in April 2014.

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Information from: La Crosse Tribune, https://www.lacrossetribune.com


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