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In the news: between Oct. 19 - 26, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in the media between October 19 - 26, 2015

'Johanna: Facing Forward' brings powerful true story of domestic abuse to KU stage - Lawrence.com

“Johanna: Facing Forward” begins with a lone gunshot.

Alejandra Villasante Ramos, the Kansas University junior tasked with the titular role, falls backward into the arms of shadowy figures.

 “Intimate partner violence is public health issue — it’s not just a private matter,” says playwright Tlaloc Rivas. “Because I’m an artist and a writer and a director, this is my way of trying to address the issue. I’m trying to tell a story that will call people to action in some way.”

“Johanna: Facing Forward” tells the extraordinary story of Johanna Orozco, who not only endured a sexual assault at the hands of her abusive ex-boyfriend but also a shattered jaw and disfigured face that she bravely refused to hide, even for the reporter and photojournalist who documented her recovery in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The series sparked a national movement against teen violence, and — along with Orozco’s journal entries — provided the basis for Rivas’ stage adaptation, which will be performed this weekend at KU's Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall.

In telling Orozco’s story, Rivas says he meant to examine a number of questions raised by journalist Rachel Dissell in her original “Johanna: Facing Forward” series.

Told through flashbacks, “Johanna: Facing Forward” chronicles Orozco’s journey — from the sweet beginnings of her romance with Ruiz, to her recounting of the rape to a detective while being examined in the hospital, to her eventual confrontation of her assailant in an Ohio courtroom.

Murphy Hall is only the second venue to stage “Johanna,” which debuted just over four months ago at the Cleveland Public Theatre.

Rivas said he’d like to bring “Johanna” to other universities — where one in four women are sexually assaulted during their college careers — after its run at KU.

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