Rock Against Rape concert to benefit survivors

The event, to be held Sept. 30, will include music, poetry and dance.
The RSVP Center is hosting a concert at The Shack as part of Rape Awareness Month. The event is at 6 p.m. Friday in the MU Student Center.

It's rape awareness month, and the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center plans to reach out through rock. The annual Rock Against Rape concert, sponsored by the RSVP Center, raises awareness about rape and benefits rape survivors.

Senior Lysaundra Campbell helped put the concert together this year.

“This year’s concert is a bit different than previous ones,” she said. “It is more art-oriented.”

In terms of art, the concert will host dance groups, poetry pieces as well as music such as rap and rhythm and blues.

The admission is free, but proceeds from door prizes will benefit rape survivors.

“The drawings will have prizes for coupons to places such as The Blackberry Exchange and Red Mango,” Campbell said. “All donations are going to really good causes.”

Shannon West, the choreographer for the Missouri Contemporary Ballet, choreographed a piece that will premiere at Rock Against Rape.

“This is the first time that I and MCB have been involved in the event,” West said. “When Lysaundra Campbell asked us to participate, I jumped at the opportunity. As someone who has experienced and processed sexual assault, I felt compelled to create something for the event.”

The piece West created is a 13-minute dance set to music composed by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood.

“The beginning explores a group of women and their response to their surroundings and is followed by a male/female duet that, without vulgarity, clarifies the tone of the piece,” West said.

She said the dance reflects the reason for the concert, and the journey a rape survivor experiences.

“I felt it most important to explore the aftermath of the event, rather than the event itself,” West said. “For this reason, the duet is followed by tandem solos from the male and female lead. Each solo explores what a survivor and perpetrator experience over time.”

West said she asked her dancers to approach the piece not as characters but as themselves, with “their own thoughts and fears about the situation.”

“They have several options of how it can end, but will always do what feels the most true in the moment,” she said.

The women involved have strong opinions about what the concert stands for.

“It’s a laid back way to promote rape awareness,” Campbell said. “People can enjoy a concert and support a beneficial cause at the same time.”

West said she feels the event strives to reach people in a different way.

“While it is true that many individuals will never experience an assault, every person is affected by rape,” West said. “Whether it touches your life because you have a partner who experiences it, or a child, or friend, some relationship in your life is affected by the event and aftermath of rape.”

The Rock Against Rape concert is set to bring in proceeds to benefit survivors, as well as raise awareness of the impact rape has on others.

“Events like Rock Against Rape work to bring awareness to the forefront of people's minds, to remind them and re-sensitize them through art,” West said.

The concert will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 30 at The Shack in the MU Student Center.

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