Friday, September 17, 2010
Day 8 of the Tour: 9-15
University of Arizona Veterans in Higher Education conference, Gallagher Theater. POWERFUL performance with an audience who has been there: a crowd of 40 vets, male and female, and those who work with them. It was difficult to speak afterwards, and several people left before the discussion began, but the strong sentiments and deep emotions began to surface as the people began to talk.
Clearly, according to this audience, something needs to be done. . . and the play seems to open a door, for women vets in particular, whose stories have gone unheard for too long .
Here is what some audience members said:
". . . these women are brave because they willfully joined the boy's club, willfully entered the smoking parlor where they knew they would face closed doors at best, violation at worst."
"What a difficult reality. Already as a woman I feel confined on so many levels---and to put myself in a situation where I give up what freedom of expression of self I have is unimaginable. All to ensure that the rest are free to do/live in this "free" society."
"Overwhelm, painful, beautiful, sadness, honor, weakness, strength. I think of my daughter. When do men become true men? it is measured in battle or measured in how they interact with women. . . or both?"
"I believe this [play] would be a great program to not only spread to civilian women, but to try to assemble active duty women from all ranks and all forces. As an active duty female, I believe young sailors/soldiers/marines would benefit from exploring this side of combat, both male and female."
"Profound feelings. It took me back like I was there again. Not in a good way. I hated it. I loved it. Well done."
"This experience helped open my eyes to the thoughts, feelings, stories that accompany the statistics I know. I am thankful for the performance and appreciate all that went into making it happen. I will be a stronger advicate and supporter to the women veterans that I will have the privilege to serve."
"This was some pretty powerful stuff. We have had a deaf ear to women's issues for way too long and still do not want to face the realities. This play is a wonderful means of awareness that just opens the doors slightly . . . and we need to bust it completely open."
"Too dark. Too sad. No one spoke about patriotism? Courage? Satisfaction?"
"[Women] have had to not only fear the enemy but also their warrior brothers."
"It saddens and disgusts me that these women were treated this way, but even as a child of the military I know these things existed. I personally know of a woman who is determined to be a grey beret who has encountered harassment and who feels she needs to be more "man-like."