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of how they were silent about their assaults until they saw the play, and finally told their mothers and/or the police. “That’s more important to me than anything, it’s this chance for people to speak out,” says Miller, proudly. “Every now and then some- one comes up to me, sometimes powerful women, and says, ‘I’m 1 in 3.’ They don’t want to talk about rape, they just want to ac- knowledge that they are 1 in 3. It’s not their fault and they can own that. That means a lot. It’s my response to that paradox of being a lawyer and actually being a woman.” There are many roles of truth for Prima Facie ’s Tessa, and the play aptly explores these complexities. In the court of law it’s the legal truth that presides, but when an assault victim isn’t clear about what happened and moments of affection turn violent, the truth shifts. Miller chose to explore a form of sexual assault in which a woman is assaulted by someone with whom she is close (and also happens to be a colleague at her practice.) “It is the most common version of sexual assault,” she says. “Men don’t realize that they have an obligation to check on consent. They are part of the conversation if they are having sex with a woman or any sort of sexual intimacy or relationship with a woman.” Miller recalls tak- ing six sexual assault statements each week from young girls in her prior career. “They were horrific. Often their attackers were their boyfriends, dads, stepfathers... There were some that were a date and they would say, ‘It was my fault because I went with them.’ I always wanted to separate that involvement and the doubt, and the idea of the shame they have by trusting somebody.” Miller considers the Supreme Court Justice hearings in

which women bravely told their stories of sexual abuse in tele- vised, national hearings, yet were still dismissed. She wonders if the issue is getting any better. “I have to believe that we’re at least talking about it and we’re outraged,” she says.“In earlier years, I don’t know if those women would have had the chance to even speak up. The fact that they are being crucified by cer- tain aspects of the media and politics doesn’t mean that women don’t believe them.” Prima Facie has partnered with the School’s Consent Project, which aims to educate and empower young people in under- standing what it means to give consent. “I realized after I wrote the play that it goes well beyond a legal problem,” says Miller. “It’s actually a community problem about how men and women are raised in talking about consent and choice. Hopefully, if you go back to the education system and start there, you hope that in the next fifteen years, those conversations will be less defen- sive. It’s about having those conversations in schools.” Miller is hopeful that the world will see necessary change, and is proud of the fact that Prima Facie is already helping it along. “I still hope that we as a community, one-by-one, can see something, empathize, and create change,” she says. “I believe in people and the power of story and the power of creating empa- thy as the one way that you can stop people in their tracks. Not an argument in court, not a dinner table political stash, but ac- tually seeing something from a different perspective, and in spite of themselves, feeling sympathetic and empathetic toward a human being.”

@ WESTONMAGAZINES 13

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