Local theater performance to highlight impact of military sexual assault

A 2013 Pentagon survey showed out of nearly 1.4 million people in the U.S. military,  as many as 26,000 might’ve been sexually assaulted.

An assault survivor says it’s an epidemic in the military, and one that can easily spread to the civilian world. That’s why she’s trying to get the word out through a couple of upcoming performances here in La Crosse.

Actors in the “Speaking Out: Why I Stand” show will share true stories of abuse survivors from all around the country.

Rachel Beauchene is the driving force behind this production.  She started the ‘Survivors Empowered Through Art’ non-profit as a way to get the message out about the effects of sex assault in the military, which she says many people don’t realize are impacting La Crosse.

“When I first started ‘Survivors Empowered Through Art” I was walking around downtown, handing out fliers for a fundraiser,” says Beauchene.  “I went to about 20 businesses downtown. Out of those 20 businesses, I talked to one or two people who worked in the store. Two people out of that had an immediate family member that was affected by military sexual trauma. It effects even the smallest of communities.

“Speaking Out: Why I Stand” features poetry and stories of survivors, their families, and their friends.  It’s showing at La Crosse’s Muse Theatre on April 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m.  Performances will be followed by a question and answer session with Rachel, actors, as well as a representative from Fort McCoy.

For ticket information call (608)782-0707.