Theatre group to lead discussions on domestic violence, dating abuse

By Erica Aceret

The Inner Voices Social Issues Theatre will perform “Stories that Need to Be Told,” a production of skits and discussions pertaining to domestic violence and dating abuse.

Performances will take place throughout this week and will continue through the week of Nov. 28. According to J.W. Morrissette, Inner Voices assistant program coordinator, each show is expected to last from 30 to 35 minutes long and is followed by a discussion led by peer facilitators. The performances are open to the public and free of charge.

According to, Domestic Violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating.

“The skits are going to address issues of domestic violence and dating abuse,” Morrissette said. “They inform the audience on how to be supporters and allies of victims of these issues.”

Domestic Violence affects nearly everyone, either directly or indirectly, said Marilyn Best, director of facilitation for Inner Voices. According to the American Bar Association, an average of 28 percent of high school and college students experience dating violence at some point.

The Inner Voices Social Issues Theatre, sponsored by the McKinley Health Center, the Counseling Center and the theatre department, usually has three different topics per semester, for which dorms and sororities then request performances, said Morrissette.

“We look at all different angles on the topics we’re dealing with,” Morrissette said. “A lot of the issues are very interrelated so we can usually touch on more than one topic in a performance.”

Inner Voices collects and creates up to 200 scripts a year for their performances. Each script is evaluated by Inner Voice staff and students before it is accepted for a performance.

“We have touched on topics ranging from body image, sexual assault, alcohol issues and social issues,” Morrissette said. “We try to keep scripts pretty current because the topics we deal with evolve from day to day.”

All of the actors in the skits are students who are a part of the Inner Voices ensemble.

“What makes these skits and discussions so effective is that it is peer education,” said Best. “The audience can see people they can really relate to. It’s really an open-end support environment.”

Not only will the audience see skits acted out by peers, they will also be questioned and talked to by peer facilitators after the show.

“We collect a lot of background information on the issues at hand to help us create questions to promote further discussion after the performance,” said Ingrid Manion, Inner Voices peer facilitator and graduate student in social work. “Seeing the issues acted out can help people apply them to real life matters.”

Inner Voices solicits feedback on performances. Surveys are available for students to fill out for suggestions and ideas after the show.

“These performances create a vehicle to invite people to talk about these issues,” Best said. “They are a way to draw people in to be supportive.”