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Sex Signals entertained, and created awareness

Ann Riz and David Seeber

Photo by: Deb Parrilli

Ann Riz and David Seeber use skits to get students to think about and discuss potential sexual situations they may face in the future.

Nationally touring actors and educators Annie Riz and David Seeber, from Chicago, put on a presentation on three Gateway campuses in early April. “Sex Signals” is billed as “the real life funny sort-of-improv show.” The event entertained and had attendees thinking about dating scenarios, date rape, inappropriate activity and the need to come forward.

“We want to bring everyone in with humor, loosen them up, and then transition into more serious things,” explained Seeber of the traveling show. “When it comes to sexual situations, it can be awkward or scary, which is why people don’t always want to talk about it. There are serious issues out there. People who are victims of a sexual crime should not be ashamed or embarrassed to get the help they need.”

Seeber and Riz acted out scenes and then asked the audience how they should proceed. In one scene, Riz was sitting down and Seeber told the crowd, “I want to pick her up. How should I proceed, romantically or sexually?” The audience then became actively engaged and was a part of the story.

“The skits were entertaining and informative at the same time,” said Katie Coakwell, peer advocate at Gateway. “I heard a big message that we need to stop looking at the victims – that it’s not a victims fault and we need to quit blaming them saying it was their actions or what they did that led to what happened.”

Transformational vocabulary was intertwined in the presentation. In one skit, Seeber told Riz, “I like chicks,” to which Riz replied, “birds?” Much stronger words were then used.

“Words used to describe sex are awful,” Riz told the gathering.

Even if one is not actively engaged in the banter, or inappropriate and even criminal activity, witnessing something wrong and not doing anything about it is equally bad, according to the duo.

“It is important to be a good bystander and intervene if you can,” said Riz. “We push the importance of people coming forward, even if not directly involved.”

Seeber summed up their tour by saying, “we are going around the country, planting seeds and creating awareness about inappropriate sexual activity.”