TORONTO – On November 25th, 2018, in honour of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, SExT: Sex Education by Theatre in partnership with The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) will release their second music video #TunnelVision highlighting the topic of domestic violence.
Watch Tunnel Vision Now:
November 25th, 2018 marks the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women and in honour, the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) in partnership with arts-based youth performance group, SExT: Sex Education by Theatre, will be releasing their second music video Tunnel Vision highlighting the topic of domestic violence. November 25th also marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. Initiated in 1991 by the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute, the campaign runs every year from November 25th to December 10th, Human Rights Day.
Tunnel Vision is an original song with lyrics written and performed by SExT cast member, Mary Getachew, based on her personal experience with and journey healing from intimate partner violence. The music video provides a realistic glimpse into the cycle of physical and emotional abuse and chronicles Getachew’s decision to leave an abusive relationship, as well as her road to recovery. The video is a collaboration with local artists, featuring music and direction by award-winning actress and singer, Elena Juatco, choreography by Ming-Bo Lam, and videography by Fred Yurichuk.
“If high school students were taught how to be assertive and what consent means when I was in school I truly believe I would have been able to do something about the red flags surrounding me.” said Mary Getachew. “I am so grateful to SExT and now CANFAR for giving youth a platform to better educate youth on important topics that affect us such as domestic violence. With Tunnel Vision, I want people to know that things aren’t always black and white in these situations and that doesn’t make them bad or wrong. I want everyone impacted by the imbalances of unhealthy behaviors in a relationship to know that clichés are in fact true: You are not alone, it’s never too late to leave, and time will heal you. You just need the right supports and most importantly to be ready for it.”
“I created SExT to provide a safe place for youth to have difficult, yet crucial and sometimes lifesaving conversations,” said SExT founder Shira Taylor. “Lack of access to comprehensive and relevant sex education means that young people just aren’t taught what a healthy relationship looks like, how to communicate their needs and boundaries assertively, what unhealthy behaviours to watch out for, how to leave an abusive situation, and what resources and support are available to them. My research shows that theatre is in a unique position to communicate and model these messages in an emotionally impactful way that leads to real behaviour change. As a peer educator and performer, Mary’s bravery in making art out of her story as part of her own healing journey allows for these critically important lessons to be communicated in a way that young people in 2018 find impactful and personally relevant.”
CANFAR recently announced their partnership with SExT in the spring of 2018 to reach youth in some of Canada’s most remote communities that are greatly affected by the HIV epidemic. For the partnership’s initial campaign, SExT performed for 39 schools and Indigenous reserves across Northern Ontario, Northern Saskatchewan, and the Greater Toronto Area engaging over 4,000 youth.
Most recently, they released their first music video #BodakConsent, a rap parody based on Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow song, with the lyrics re-written by one of the cast members, Lauren Chang, teaching youth about consent.
Through this partnership, CANFAR strives to empower Canadian youth to recognize and avoid unhealthy situations, explore their identity on their own terms, and be able to confidently set boundaries. CANFAR envisions that this partnership with SExT will eventually expand into other provinces and communities, increasing young people’s knowledge around sexual health and decision making, and ultimately, reducing the rate of new HIV infections.
SExT was created by Shira Taylor, an Ottawa-born, Toronto-based actor and art for health and social change advocate, as part of her PhD dissertation at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. SExT was born out of Toronto’s Thorncliffe/Flemingdon Park, a community where sexuality is a cultural taboo and sexual health education, a contentious issue.
SExT is grounded in a culturally inclusive, youth-led and arts-based approach, which uses theatre to empower young people to examine, challenge and communicate topics that youth have identified as relevant to their lives. SExT provides a safe space for youth to develop as artists and advocates in their own communities, speaking on issues including consent, racism, homophobia, HIV, STIs, pregnancy, cyberbullying, domestic violence, mental health, pregnancy, cyberbullying, and domestic violence through a compilation of sketches, songs, poems, raps, and dances.
About the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR)
Over its 30-year history, CANFAR has invested more than $21 million and awarded more than 400 grants across Canada in research addressing all aspects of HIV and AIDS. Over a quarter of new HIV infections in Canada occur in youth between ages 15 and 29. CANFAR is committed to ending HIV in Canada by reaching the most at-risk youth through its National Awareness Programs, which focus on educating young people across the country about HIV prevention, testing and treatment.
Available for Interviews
Shira Taylor – Creator/Director SExT
Mary Getachew – SExT Cast Member
Roxanne Ma – CANFAR Senior Manager of National Youth Awareness Programs