One in five women and one in 16 men will experience some form of sexual assault during their time in college. Of these victims, more than 90 percent will not report it. While a multitude of reasons are the cause of this problem, one that stood out to performer Tim Collins was toxic masculinity.
“Working with incarcerated teens in New England, I had a chance to hear their stories and experiences about growing up and the intensely negative lessons they learned about masculinity and being a man, Collins said. “I wanted to write a show that portrayed men struggling against traditional notions of masculinity and manliness and encourage audience members to question the societal forces that shape our perceptions of self-image and self-identity.”
Collins brought his show “THE SCRIPT” to SUNY New Paltz on Thursday, April 26 in the Student Union Building multi-purpose room. Running a little over an hour, including an introduction and talkback with Collins, the show focused on themes of sexual assault, rape and toxic masculinity.
“THE SCRIPT” is a one-man show, with Collins at the forefront portraying all four characters: Jeremy, Jay, Nick and Chris.
“Solo performance has always been my form of expression; I’ve been touring one-man shows since 2000, beginning when I was still a college student,” Collins said.
Each of the characters had significantly different personalities and backgrounds, all of which had basis in Collins’ own life. The story of “THE SCRIPT” is simple. Taking place on a college campus the morning after a school-wide party, the play highlights how each of the four characters deal with the tragic news that a classmate whom they all had connections with in some way or another, was raped.
“The characters I create primarily come from my imagination, but they are further shaped by a combination of my own direct experience with friends and brothers, my impressions of people that I’ve met over the years, interviews with students and educators, celebrities and stories culled from research, movie, TV and documentaries,” Collins said.
Within “THE SCRIPT” Collins managed to seamlessly weave in not only lessons on how to handle comforting someone who has experienced rape or sexual assault but also statistics on the topic.
“THE SCRIPT” was brought to campus by Emma Morcone, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator at SUNY New Paltz.
“I decided to bring “THE SCRIPT” to SUNY New Paltz for several reasons. “THE SCRIPT” touches on so many more topics besides sexual assault, including toxic masculinity, unhealthy relationships, bystander intervention and Title IX policies,” Morcone said. “I think offering a male lens on sexual assault prevention is very meaningful. I felt that THE SCRIPT offered a unique, but powerful, approach to sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention.”
Title IX, which was passed in 1972, “protects all members of our campus community from gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, interpersonal violence and stalking,” according to the page dedicated to Title IX on the SUNY New Paltz website (www.newpaltz.edu/titleix). As a part of the program, students who are victims of sexual assault or harassment have access to Title IX coordinators, a crime victim advocate, the psychologocial counseling center, and many other helpful resources. More information on these resources can be found at the aforementioned website.
As for Collins, his advocacy through performance doesn’t stop at New Paltz. He has performed multiple shows for wide ranges of audiences on numerous different topics, including “NO MORE BULLYING” and “STANDING BY, STANDING UP,” both of which deal with bullying prevention for different levels of elementary-aged students. Collins hopes to continue to bring “THE SCRIPT” to colleges, universities and high schools throughout the country.
“I will continue to tour the show into the foreseeable future to any school/agency/institution that wants to deepen and further the conversation about toxic masculinity, bystander intervention, consent and violence prevention,” Collins said.
More information on Collins and his work can be found at his website, www.timcollinsonline.com.