How socially unaccepted is sexual assault and rape in Adelaide?
According to Laura Desmond’s stories of five “assaults”, it seems interwoven into university life and even Adelaide Fringe culture.
In short, this “socially [un]acceptable” behaviour is happening all around us and there is a complex array of expectations, behaviours, norms, and protocols that not only facilitate these breaches but also keeps them quiet and “rationalised”.
At the heart of Laura’s recounting of her stories is the refrain, I didn’t say no but that doesn’t mean I was saying yes.
It is a point that, for some, will be incredibly nuanced and hard to fathom.
But by the end of the show, there will hopefully have been enough “repeat” stories for us to see some patterns emerging, so that we can empathise with Laura and realise that while she may have made some decisions that left her vulnerable, they shouldn’t really have been dangerous situations if the “other person” had not been driven to pursue their wants in a selfish, harmful, and disrespectful way.
Bringing each tale into some relief, are songful vingnettes in which Laura gets to showcase her powerful voice in a way other than the F*&^ laden exclamations which punctuate her visceral retelling of her tales.
I am glad I saw this show and I believe it is one you should try to see (and talk about) so we can shine some sunshine on this unnecessarily complex shadow in the corner of human relationships.