RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Last week, Washoe County Commissioners officially proclaimed April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
One local woman was acknowledged for her artistic performances on the impact of sexual violence. Kelsey Sweet's project is setting the stage for an open discussion about sexual violence in our community.
Every year, more than 230,000 people are victims of sexual assault in the United States, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Sweet was a victim in the past, and is bringing awareness on the issue in a unique way.
"The statistics for sexual violence, especially in the state of Nevada, are extremely high," said Sweet. "So having gone through something so personal, that also I believe many women, or men for that matter, can relate to."
Sweet's production called "Open Jar ... A Potentialist Romance ... Almost" is her interpretive portrayal of being a victim and survivor of sexual violence. The project is for her Master's thesis in Transformative Leadership.
Sweet said the project was inspired by a book she wrote. "Where I was talking about my life and some of my experiences with sexual violence and other kind of horrible things that I've gone through. And so I've taken a couple of different stories or poems or spoken word elements out of that."
Sweet has been talking about her experience with sexual violence for a couple years, and has received a lot of mixed feedback, both positive and negative. "'You can't talk about these sort of things, just get over it,' and I was like, well okay, you can't tell me to just get over something, this isn't something you cure or fix overnight."
Sweet said because sexual violence is often difficult to talk about, her project creates a safe atmosphere in a lighter way. "We can then go on to talk about what we can do then to cure this, stop this, heal this, that sort of thing, but if say sexual violence people shut down and leave the room."
Sweet's performance runs through April 26 at the Potentialist Workshop. Tickets are a minimum $10 donation and proceeds will support The Committee to Aid Abused Women and Safe Embrace. For more information, click here