Zero shades of grey seminar: The conversation starts with you

“When it comes to sexual assault, there are zero shades of gray. It’s black & white.”

This is the battlecry, designed by Collegiate Empowerment, that has been established for the first of three seminars “Zero Shades of Gray”.

The Zero Shades of Gray seminar, lead by speaker Marian Barshinger, was one of the many installments displayed during Enough is Enough week at NCC. Held on April 4 in CC220, the seats were filled with students and faculty awaiting to hear the strong message behind Zero Shades of Gray.

The seminar was an interactive learning experience where students and attending faculty learned more details on consent and sexual assault.

NCC students who participated in the seminar learned how to understand the issue of sexual violence, be part of the solution, and to become a resource because when is comes to sexual assault, there are zero grays of gray; it’s black and white.

One of the many seminars provided by Collegiate Empowerment, Zero Shades of Gray embodies the balance between education and entertainment that taught the students about Title IX while providing statistics about sexual assault.

For those who don’t know Title IX says, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

           Talking about sexual assault and consent is one of the hardest topics when it comes to approaching it the right way without triggering negative responses.

“This is my job. I travel the country giving these talks but believe me I would rather be out of a job, I would rather not be having this conversation but we’re not there yet,” said Barshinger with grief in her voice.

The topic of sexual assault is not the easiest, however, the way Zero Shades of Gray incorporates its educational aspects with the spice of entertainment is one that both impresses and astounds.

Zero Shades of Gray is not just a talk, it is a well informed lecture that uses statistics and facts about sexual assault while making “giving the yes”, or consent, a priority to a healthy sexual relationship.

Statistics show, for college students, that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexual assaulted during college and that half of assaults involve alcohol. These are part of the Zero Shades of Gray seminar which establishes the line “when it comes to sexual assault there are zero shades of gray”.

It’s hard to set the tone when talking about sexual assault, but Zero Shades of Gray does it not through fear but by raising awareness to help prevent assault and make getting consent “sexy” and mandatory.

Zero Shades of Gray is just one out of a trilogy of seminars titled Zero Shades Darker and Zero Shades Freed. One seminar opens the topic of sexual assault, one topic dives deeper creating an empowering campus culture, and the last is designed to show that our future is stronger than our past.

The idea of the Zero Shades of Gray seminar is that students, like those who participated at NCC, would walk away and begin the conversation that no one wants to start talking about, yet must be and that it sexual assault.

NCC has a huge community filled with support systems like the counseling office, which is located next to Laub lounge, and our Title IX coordinators who are trained to help out and provide guidance.

For more about the Zero Shades of Gray seminar, or if interested in attending or having another seminar come to NCC, go to www.collegiate-empowerment.org/zero or stop by the counseling office.