CHRIS JOHNSTON AND TERRI WITEK
Chris Johnston, author of Shattering Silences:Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault, Heal Survivors and Bring Assailants to Justice and poet Terri Witek, author of The Rape Kit (Slope Editions 2018) will speak at the Coventry Library on Wednesday, September 5th at 7 p.m.
Every two minutes someone in the US is sexually assaulted, and each year there are nearly 300,000 victims of sexual assault. But victims are no longer silent, and new practices by police, prosecutors, nurses, and rape crisis professionals are resulting in more humane and compassionate treatment of victims and more aggressive pursuit and prosecution of perpetrators.
Shattering Silences is the first book to cover these new approaches and partnerships. Christopher Johnston shows how the people and organizations implementing these new approaches are having far-reaching impacts on helping victims heal and making it more likely that predators will be arrested and sentenced. His in-depth portrayals of the altruistic and hard-working people behind these radical approaches--based on seven years of interviews--provide a template of best practices for other organizations and communities to follow.
"Terri Witek’s The Rape Kit is a powerful procedural collection of poems that unearths the obstructionist nature of the bureaucratic apparatuses that proclaim to attend to the trauma of sexual violence. But that’s just the beginning. The range and depth of this book is astonishing in its precision, and it its probing. The Rape Kit manages an unrelenting force of return to languages of steely repression, thereby stealing power from the gaze of the apparatuses and those behind it. It is a miraculous accomplishment. Witek’s collection is rare and necessary and a fire in the throat of a culture that has no appropriate language for rape and its aftermath. Her approximation here strokes the aura of a pain that cannot be spoken. It takes multiple approaches—renderings of interior architectures, absences, diagrams, historical overlay, erasures, and language repetition— but in the end, Witek’s The Rape Kit is a grand success, the best we’ll get. Fresh, relevant, and heartbreaking." Dawn Lundy Martin
Christopher Johnston has published more than 3,000 articles in numerous regional and national publications. These include American Theatre, Balanced Living, Christian Science Monitor, Cleveland Magazine, Crain’s Cleveland Business, The Plain Dealer, Scientific American (online) and Time.com,
Johnston is also a playwright. His plays have appeared at Cleveland Public Theatre (Sexually Explicit Material, The Mind Field, Theories of Relativity, The Mad Mask Maker of Maigh Eo), Dobama (My Body is Blue, Murder in Mind, Loud Americans: A Punk Saga), convergence-continuum (Selfies at the Clown Motel, APORKALYPSE!, Spawn of the Petrosexuals), and Talespinner Children’s Theatre (Finn McCool). Last Light was performed at the West 78thStreet Theatre Lab in New York. He has directed for The Bang & The Clatter Theatre Co., Charenton Theatre Co., CPT, Dobama, IngenuityFest, and Karamu House.Johnston teaches playwriting and creative nonfiction workshop courses at Cleveland State University.
The Rape Kit is Terri Witek’s sixth book of poems—her work has been included in American Poetry Review, Poetry, Slate, Hudson Review, and many other journals and anthologies. Her poetry often traces the breakages between words and images: she has collaborated with Brazilian visual artist Cyriaco Lopes since 2005. Their works together include gallery shows, video, performance and site-specific projects. Terri runs Stetson University's undergraduate creative writing program, where she holds the Sullivan Chair.