Students sat around in a circle with anticipation, unsure of what to expect from the virtual reality experience that awaited them.
VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood—VOX—presented their exercise, Across the Line, on Tuesday Nov. 6 to simulate the experience of a woman who is going to a Planned Parenthood clinic for a safe and legal abortion when protestors heckle her. The debut of the virtual reality experience is fitting during a critical moment of attacks on women’s reproductive health and rights.
VOX Vice President sophomore Jessica Bansbach facilitated the exercise and the discussion that followed.
Each student received a cardboard box that had two eye holes and a place to put their phone in.
Watching the video was an out of body experience for everyone in the room. The simulation made you feel as though you were a fly on the wall during someone’s personal and traumatic experience.
The virtual reality immersed participants in a world that was a combination of 360-degree video and computer-generated imaging. The virtual reality box not only allowed users to enter the shoes of a person using Planned Parenthood, but it also allowed them to experience the horrific slander they endure from protestors.
The video is composed of three scenes using computer-generated graphics as well as a compilation of real audio gathered at protests, scripted scenes and documentary footage.
The discussion following the exercise was characterized by passion. It was an open space where students’ voices were heard, viewpoints were debated and stories were told.
President of VOX junior Victoria Cooke hoped the event gave the students who attended a lot to walk away with.
“Voices for Planned Parenthood’s mission is to educate people at SUNY Geneseo on reproductive rights and the services they can access, and to spread knowledge around campus,” Cooke said. “We want Geneseo students to walk away from this event and be able to empathize with another viewpoint and know how to counteract that if in this case, they support what we support.”
Voices for Planned Parenthood uses stories as an avenue to build empathy.
The virtual reality experience had the goal of showing the population what thousands of women endure every day when they try to obtain a safe abortion at a clinic.
The experience and the club allowed students to further feel compassionate for these women and the rights that the government may soon take away.