This play was very intriguing and well-done. Though it was not uncommon for my high school drama department, which I was highly involved in, to tackle hard and complex topics– I don’t think I’ve ever seen a play about such a reverent topic. Though I’ve never admitted it, my number one fear when coming into college was that of, “Which night will I be raped?”
My main takeaway from this play was the idea that there is no “correct” way to handle sexual assault. Admittedly, I spent the majority of the play thinking that Cassie, the woman starting the Back The Night Movement in response to her assault, was the one I should be “rooting” for. Her friend Em, who coped with her assault by denying and ignoring it, was in my mind lesser for not having the strength to process what had happened to her. At the end of the play, however, I found myself frustrated at my own judgement. Neither woman was “correct,” and in a sense I had engaged in my own twisted form of invalidating Em’s experience.
I hate that this is a shared fear of people across college campuses and I hate that there is no way to escape it. However, I think Back The Night presented to me a more nuanced understanding of how people can respond to trauma, and allowed me to be more empathetic to all the possible ways the survivors in my own life are coping.