Visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1521095822/the-aegis-project-tours-extremities-in-western-ny to donate to The Aegis Project! There are all sorts of rewards for different donation levels, and with your support (no matter how much money you are able to donate!), we can reach our goal!
The centerpiece of The Aegis Project is a production of William Mastrisimone's severe and enlightening Extremities that will tour college campuses in Western New York. The production will be part of a larger effort to raise rape awareness on college campuses in the area. My goal for each college campus is for the show to be followed by a Rape Awareness Week on that particular college campus. Extremities would likely tour for about a month, though if we could find the venues, the tour would certainly last longer! The initial goal is to create a whole month of rape awareness that spans anywhere from 8 to 12 colleges & universities...where awareness ribbons, rape whistles and the like are sold on campuses. Self-defense workshops will be held, pamphlets will be handed out, speak-outs will be held, etc. The production will be free for students to see, but we will be asking for donations at the door.
These donations and the revenues from selling different awareness items are for another goal of The Aegis Project, which is to raise money for local battered womens' shelters. The idea behind selling items and collecting donations is clear, but my ambition is for the students to conceive and actuate the awareness weeks themselves. This way, they don't simply experience The Aegis Project, but they are a part of it. I want students to know that they can make a difference simply by trying to help. Additionally, it gives them partial ownership of The Aegis Project. They're the ones running things on their own campus. They can decide where the donations go based on what shelter or service center needs it most.
It was born out of my own need to do something about the epidemic of violence that is ravaging college campuses. Not specifically one or a couple, but all of them. Most rapes are not reported. According to the United States Department of Justice, 1 of 6 U.S. women has experienced an attempted or completed rape. On college campuses, that number leaps to 1 of 4 women. However, some types of rape are excluded from official reports altogether; the FBI's definition, for example, excludes all rapes except forcible rapes of females, a significant number of rapes go unreported even when they are included as reportable rapes, and a significant number of rapes reported to the police do not advance to prosecution.
Like most men, I had absolutely no idea just how prevalent rape was until somebody I knew experienced it. Somebody very close to me was raped, and I began to wake up to the violent reality of a rape society. This was the reason that I decided to direct the play, and when I decided to direct Extremities at SUNY Geneseo, where I went to school, people started coming out of the woodwork with their stories. They were raped, their sister was raped, their mother was raped, their brother was raped...the parade of horror went on and on and on, and this was happening all around me, and I had no idea. The show never made it to the stage due to unforeseen circumstance. I then directed the play at SUNY Alfred with the same results - people cried during the show and began sharing their stories with me. Due to the supreme efforts of a woman named Nikkie Hockenberry, ribbons and other small items were sold as part of a rape awareness week at Alfred State. I was thrilled at the success of it all. But I realized that there is still so much more work to do. Not enough people were reached.After the idea percolated for sometime, The Aegis Project was born. It's been a road fraught with challenges and setbacks, but there has been success and so much support, too. The Aegis Project is not what it can be. Not yet. But through the support of some seriously wonderful people, and with some tenacity (that borders on being completely obstinate), we'll get there.