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What’s Black and White and Nothing More?

“Zero Shades of Grey” is a program that states that sexual assault is black & white with no space in between. Throughout the process of overcoming sexual assault, there are three stages. Stage one is being the victim. Stage two is being a survivor. Stage three is becoming a creator. The three stages are important for the victim to become free from what has been holding them back because sexual assault is something that can hinder a person from living their life.

An interesting fact to consider is 78% of rape victims know their attackers. That is a shocking statistic as so many rapes go unreported every year. However, the cases that are reported indicate that more than half of the victims have associated with their perpetrator in one way or another prior to the incident. Additionally, half of sexual assaults that take place involve alcohol. Sexual assault is not necessarily the most common type of assault, but it does happen quite often. One in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted in college. College is where a lot happens; what happens in college can make or break a person, so it is always important to weigh decisions.

Consent is huge to prevent sexual assault. Consent must be mutual, verbal, sober, and given from all of the parties involved. If at least one of those four conditions are not met, then it is not considered consent. Silence does not equate to consent – people need to be able to speak and be aware of all that is happening in order to legitimize the consent.

To help prevent sexual assault, if you see or hear something (e.g. someone saying NO – which is NOT giving consent) then decide to act. Unfortunately, sexual assault is everywhere and cannot be eradicated; however, the number of sexual assaults can be decreased.

During the “Zero Shades of Grey” presentation, the “Drama Triangle” was discussed. The Drama Triangle is an upside-down triangle that has the victim at the bottom. The victim feels powerless; they often think “Poor me!”. The right side of the triangle is the persecutor. They are labeled as the problem – they dominate, blame, and keep the victim down. On the left side of the triangle there is the rescuer. This person relieves pain, but fears they are not needed.

There is another triangle that relates to sexual assault called the “Empowerment Triangle”. This triangle is right-side up, and on the top of the triangle is the creator. The creator thinks, “I can do it!” which shows they are outcome focused. The left side of the triangle is the coach; they say “how will you do it?” This person supports, assists, and facilitates the desired outcome. Lastly, there is the challenger. The challenger motivates by saying “You can do it!” and builds others up, encouraging learning and growth.

The triangles can be applied to before, during, and after sexual assault. It helps explain why it occurred, but more importantly, it helps with the healing process. Healing is beyond difficult, but with the support and guidance from others who understand, who assist and encourage, end goals can be achieved. A person can transcend from victim to creator, and they will no longer be held back from the rest of their life.

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