Navigating the After
“On average, there are 463,634 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States” Source: Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2019 (2020).
While these kinds of statistics are often discussed in media, they almost never ask the question: What happens after? Every survivor has a different recovery process. Some decide to involve authorities immediately, after a delay or not at all. Then there are others who are unable to name the violence that happened to them until years later. All must struggle to come to terms with their experience of this very intimate act of violence and their paths to recovery are incredibly diverse. In “Navigating the After” Eastman explores the multifaceted recovery process after sexual assault using live dance and anonymous interviews from survivors. From the initial grieving process to wrestling with the identity of a survivor, she uses gesture phrases and partnering to delve into recovering from sexual assault. As a survivor herself, Eastman went through the Title 9 process through her university to have her assailant expelled and was later able to help prosecutors put her assailant in jail for 30 years for an escalating series of assaults he committed against other women.
To conduct interviews, Eastman reached out to her own network of survivors as well as posting on Instagram and in Facebook groups such as Chicago Queer Exchange, Chicago Art Community, VCU Dance Alumni, Chicago Dance Community and the Happy (?) Chicago Dancer. She also gave the option for survivors to fill out an online document answering questions about their recovery. The survivors responses are used as inspiration for different sections of “Navigating the After” and will be provided as quotes in the program. As a part of the performance, organizations such as &Rise and Self Reclaimed will be handing out information and collecting donations at the performance