When I stepped into How To Defend Yourself, Lilliana Padilla’s brilliant new play making its Chicago premier at Victory Gardens Theater, I thought I knew where this story would end before it had even begun. In the wake of their friend’s sexual assault, a few college students, all from different social groups, gather to hold a self-defense workshop. Naturally, I assumed, the girls would learn to respect each other for their differences and become friends, the workshop would help them to feel empowered in their bodies, and we would walk away feeling that the unifying force of our girl power is enough to take on the dark underbelly of the patriarchy. Of course, that’s never how it feels in real life. And this play, directed with care and consciousness by Marti Lyons, honors a truth far more painful and real. How To Defend Yourself is a dismantling of the stories that women tell to each other and to ourselves about how to safely walk through the world.
Content Warning: Sexual assault, Abuse, Sexual assault prevention
Members of The Chicago Theatre Community have created space this Saturday for the community to begin the process of healing in the wake of community member Joel Ewing’s arrest for sexual assault.
The space will be held at Victory Gardens’ upstairs Richard Christensen Theater, Saturday Sept 28th from 1-3pm at 2433 N Lincoln Ave.
In the organizers’ words: “This is not a panel or lecture, but an open conversation about how to support and heal our community and those affected. Experienced Sexual Assault Prevention Educators will be there to help guide the discussion if needed.”
The counselors are trained, and they are part of this resource and framework intended to empower and center community members who have been affected and are interested in beginning the healing journey, together.
See the organizers’ post below for more details: