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Loyal Daughters’: more than a play

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Editor’s note: The Observer respects the wishes of the letter writer to remain anonymous. As a policy, The Observer does not name victims of sexual assault.

In response to Jon Buttaci’s Letter to the Editor (“Loyal Daughters’ humor detracts from true dialogue,” Feb. 20) and the ongoing dialogue about sexual assault on the Notre Dame campus, I would like to first and foremost ask Mr. Buttaci when was the last time he was personally sexually assaulted. Though I know that males can be victims of sexual assault just as women can be, I am going to jump out on a limb and assume that he hasn’t been.

But I have.

It wasn’t really something I was going to throw out there to the whole campus, but I think my story is important to this dialogue.

Last November I went to see “Loyal Daughters” with a large group of girls from my dorm, Breen-Phillips Hall. When I got into my seat and began looking at my program I immediately noticed a page which said something to the extent of “if this play brings up any painful memories that you need help dealing with there are people located all throughout the theater to help” and then it listed many ways sexual assault victims can get help on the ND campus. When I saw this disclaimer I knew that “Loyal Daughters” was going to be more than just a fun night at the theater for me.

During the show I was able to laugh and cry, but most importantly I was able to see myself in each scene in some way. After the play, a smaller group of girls including our two ARs and my RA went to Starbucks to discuss the play. During our conversation I began to tell my story for the very first time since it happened. I was able to actually talk about it. I was finally able to admit to myself that it had really happened. I’d spent 4 years pretending it hadn’t.

“Loyal Daughters” was able to put me at ease through its humor while still being serious enough to help me come to an emotional and intellectual breakthrough in my life. Finally my mind and my heart could understand one another on this issue. I haven’t seen “The Vagina Monologues” in full, but the parts I have seen made me intensely uncomfortable; I’m not sure that I could cope with an entire viewing of such a graphic play. But precisely because “Loyal Daughters” employs humor, I was able to relax enough to get the real points it was trying to make.

“Loyal Daughters” helped me to change my life. I was finally able to talk to people about what had happened to me. I called some of my friends from home, who knew me at the time it happened, and broke a four year silence. They were shocked that I had been unable to tell them such an important thing, but glad they were finally able to offer me the support I’d needed for so long. Last week I interviewed with “Loyal Daughters and Sons” in an effort to contribute to the play which helped me so much. I offered my story to “Loyal Daughter and Sons” in hopes that I might in a small way be able to help someone like myself.

Yesterday, Monday, I went to my first counseling session at the CSC to discuss the deep issues in my life as a result of the violence against me, a step that I’d never have been able to take before “Loyal Daughters.” These things may not seem monumental, but for me, they are all huge steps in the right direction.

Mr. Buttaci’s insinuation that “Loyal Daughters” is useless tore me apart. Useless? For me it was the most useful play I’ve ever seen. Sexual assault victims struggle with the way their ability to choose was taken away from them. “Loyal Daughters” gave me my choice back. I choose to see “Loyal Daughters” and to offer it my full support. Mr. Buttaci is free to exercise his right to choose not to see the play, and his right to choose to aid the problem of sexual assault in any way he wants. I’ll be sure to attend his play, or whatever venture he sponsors to advance the issue of sexual assault awareness. In fact, I look forward to it, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for him to step up and actually do something.



Breen-Phillips Hall

Feb. 20