SCREAM Theater began in 1991 as a response to the University President’s mandate that every incoming first-year-student participate in a program on sexual assault. Educators at Rutgers developed an innovative model for teaching students about sexual violence. This interactive program, created by the Office of Sexual Assault Services and the Department of Health Education, combined the elements of peer education and theater to produce a unique, exciting educational program. The goals of the theater program were:
- to educate students about sexual violence,
- to promote critical thinking and values clarification,
- to encourage positive peer pressure on students for healthy behavior choices,
- to reach the people who needed to hear this message, and
- to use peers to deliver the message.
SCREAM began to perform for all orientation programs, reaching about 5,000 students annually. Since 1992, all incoming students have been required to view a SCREAM Theater program at New Student Orientation. By year two, outreach expanded to include Greek and athletic audiences, high schools, and audiences nationwide. Since then, the program has grown to become a comprehensive educational tool that explores a broad range of interpersonal violence issues including: sexual assault, dating violence, violence in the LGBTQ community, stalking, peer sexual harassment, hazing, and bullying.