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Sexual Assault in Military to be Explored at Bricolage Performance

A performance at Bricolage in downtown Pittsburgh this Saturday will shed light on sexual assault in the military.

Fifth Wall: Sexual Assault in the Military, presented by the Bricolage Production Company and advocacy group Stop Sexual Assault in the Military, explores the problem through different artistic genres.

The program will include clips from the documentary The Invisible War, scenes from Pittsburgh playwright Tammy Ryan’s Soldier’s Heart and a panel discussion with the audience.

Diane McMahon, managing director at the Thomas Merton Center, said one in every four recruits in the military experiences some form of sexual assault, a greater percentage than ever before.

“[The program] really moves you to want to talk about it and process it and think through ‘why is this happening?’” McMahon said.

Stop Sexual Assault in the Military, a group organized by the Thomas Merton Center, advocates for the rights of the victims. According to McMahon, when someone in the military is sexually assaulted, they have to go through the chain of command and are not given legal options.

“At least in general society, you have a way that you can go back and get justice served,” McMahon said. “When you’re in the military, justice is not very often served.”

Two bills aimed at curbing sexual assault in the military could come up for votes in the Senate next week, including SB. 967, the Military Justice Improvement Act. This bill will break the chain of command and take prosecution out of the hands of the military.

“There is a piece of legislation out there that we can advocate for and change this situation,” McMahon said. “We can decrease sexual assault happening in the military.”

The event will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. and admission is free.