Santa Clara University

Office of Student Life

Sexual Assault Prevention & Education Program:
Can't Thread A Moving Needle




Program Explanation

Santa Clara University is committed to educating our students and attending to their welfare. The horrific reality is that college students are vulnerable to experiencing sexual violence, and even can be perpetrators of sexual violence. Recognizing that sexual violence amongst the college population is a national issue, Santa Clara University is committed to educating our students on this topic to reduce the likelihood of sexual violence occurring within our community.

As a concluding piece of first year students’ introduction to the Santa Clara University community, all first year students are required to attend a mandatory sexual assault prevention and education program called, Can’t Thread a Moving Needle. This program is presented in collaboration by the Office of Student Life, the Wellness Center, the Department of Theatre and Dance, and the Center for Performing Arts.

Can’t Thread a Moving Needle, by playwright Barbara Means Fraser, offers a compelling and honest examination of the issue of sexual assault through the use of real words and real stories. The experiences, thoughts, and realizations upon which this play has been based allow the audience to gain an overview of the physical and emotional costs of sexual assault.

The play is composed of numerous scenes and monologues that are sad, enlightening, jarring, and funny. Each part highlights various aspects of this complex issue: the role that alcohol plays, the importance of communication between men and women, the impact that rape myths have on our college campuses, survivors' stories of trauma and healing, safety tips, and the search for a solution. This play is intended to open a dialogue and provide a forum for discussion on stage that will hopefully continue long after the curtain falls.

Ten Santa Clara University students - male and female - worked together with the playwright to collect stories from students, faculty, and staff from Santa Clara University as well as other colleges and universities. Interviews included people from California, Texas, Indiana, Oregon, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Arizona, New York, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania. The few things on which all agreed: Education about the issue of sexual assault is essential, and men and women need to join forces to work toward a solution.

Can't Thread A Moving Needle brochure - PDF version available for download

Program Implementation

All first year students are assigned according to their Residential Learning Community to attend one of four performances. Attendance is tracked by electronically reading (“swiping”) each student’s university identity card.  Counselors from Counseling and Psychological Services are available to meet with anyone in private if they have such a need.

2011 Performance Schedule September 28, 2011 September 29, 2011
Performance Times 6:30 to 7:30 PM
8:00 to 9:00 PM
6:30 to 7:30 PM
8:00 to 9:00 PM

All performances  are in Mayer Theatre.

The final rehearsal / preview performance for invited guests is on September 27, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.

Comments from Members of the Class of 2012…

"I was annoyed we had to go to this but it was amazing and made me think about things that have happened in my life."

"I think the actors were wonderful, and I thank them for their time and effort in the production."

"I really thought this was a vital presentation and that all universities should present something about this issue to their students. It is knowledge that will stop rape and sexual assault from happening."

"Great job, most students don't appreciate programs like this enough, but I commend [the actors] on all of [their] hard work, and programs like these do make a difference. Thank you :)"

Photography by Renee Billingslea

For More Information Regarding...

Production Rights:
Barbara Means Fraser
Department of Theatre and Dance
Santa Clara University
(408) 554-4469

Program Implementation:
Matthew Duncan
Office of Student Life
Santa Clara University
(408) 554-4583

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