Below are some suggestions for facilitating a dialogue after a reading or a performance of THE GRAY.
 
Feel free to use them, adapt them to the size of your venue, or create your own style! 
 
Remember that follow up questions offer an important opportunity for clarification and understanding.

​LEADING A DIALOGUE:​​

TO START:

  1. Read our STUDY GUIDE in order to be able to answer questions from an informed place, and be aware of the suggested language.  If you do not know an answer, it is absolutely okay to say that you do not know.
     

  2. Express your gratitude to those present in the room. Remind attendees that they are under no obligation to participate - simply watching is welcome, too.
     

  3. In the spirit of transparency, explain what you as the facilitator hope to achieve from this dialogue: is this an opportunity to answer questions about the content in the script, a time for honest feedback about your own campus community, a brainstorm session of actionable solutions, etc.
     

  4. Introduce any guest specialists on the topic who might be present, and have local resources available in advance should anyone wish to be connected to a health professional, Title IX coordinator, advocacy group or police department.

EXERCISES FOR A SMALL GROUP OR CLASS

CHECK IN/CHECK OUT 

This can be an excellent way to jump start a discussion and create common ground.  For the sake of time, these are best limited to a single word that describes "how you are feeling right now" or "where you are."

HAND RAISING

Using declarative statements, ask participants to raise their hand when a statement applies to them. Remind them that these answers are just for today, in this moment. For example:

"I love cilantro."

"I hate cilantro." (it is often helpful to provide both sides of a statement, sometimes even an "in between")

"I am a current college student."

"I learned something new from this play."
"My life or the life of someone close to me has been affected by sexual assault."

CULTURAL MAPPING

Ask participants to place themselves in four different corners according to an assigned directive. 

 

For example, if you are discussing expectations you might use:  

CORNER 1: "I prefer to pay on a first date."  

CORNER 2: "I expect the other party to pay on a first date."  

CORNER 3: "I insist on evenly splitting the check."  

CORNER 4: "I opt out of dating."

Once people select a corner, they must find three things they have in common and one representative will share this with the group.

You can also use a "spectrum" by asking people to place themselves on a line between two points in the room with assigned meanings.  For example, "I traveled a long distance to go to college" to "I attended a college in my hometown."  Or, "I feel safe in my community" to "I do not feel safe in my community."

 

IMPROVISATION
This works well with a theater-minded group.

 

One at a time, invite participants to wordlessly act out a gesture or movement that to them represents an idea or action such as “consent,” “friendship” or “flirting.”  Once they are done the participants will guess the idea or action.


The participants will not always get it right. That's ok! This exercise is designed to allow participants to examine body language and realize that body language is not always clear and that our own perceptions influence what we think someone is saying through their body language.  Only through verbal consent or non-consent can someone know whether or not their partner wants to have sex.

WRITING OPPORTUNITIES

This is ideal for a classroom setting.  Offer introspective reflection opportunities, if appropriate. A few prompts might be:
 

"What makes you feel powerful?"

"Pick a character and describe a choice that they made in the play.  Why did they make that choice?  What might they have done differently?"  
 

Invite willing participants to share.  

QUESTIONS TO POSE TO THE GROUP - Please reference our STUDY GUIDE!

CONSENT:  Words or overt actions by a person who is legally or functionally competent to give informed approval, indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact.  

  • Consent is voluntary, mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time.

  • Past consent does not mean current or future consent.

  • There is no consent when there is force, intimidation, or coercion.

  • There is no consent if a person is mentally or physical incapacitated or impaired because one cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation.

Did Bianca consent to having sex with Chase?

What could Chase have done differently?

Remember that if you have to convince someone for sex, you are doing it wrong.  Consent is an active and verbal “Yes.” If your partner says no, maybe, or is unsure, then do not press forward.

 

RAPE MYTHS:  Rape myths are false beliefs that shift the blame from the perpetrator to the victim, and they emerged from years and years of deeply ingrained gender roles, the normalization of violence, and a lack of understanding about sexual violence and trauma.

 

Where did rape myths emerge in this story?

How did they effect Bianca?  Chase?  Susanna and Tomer?

How might we combat rape myths if we hear them being perpetuated? 

 

BYSTANDER INTERVENTION: A bystander is a person who is present when an event takes place, but isn't directly involved.  

Identify the bystanders who were present in THE GRAY.

How might they have intervened to change the outcome of the story?

TRAUMA:  Bianca tries to make sense of her memories, which are fragmented and distant.  She expresses shock and denial.  She even experiences flashbacks and nausea.  These are a normal responses to a distressing or disturbing experience, which we call trauma.

How did Susanna and Tomer try to support Bianca?  

What was the effect of the investigation on Bianca?

What ideas do you have that might improve the reporting process for individuals experiencing trauma?

ROAD TO JUSTICE: French describes the options that Bianca has for seeking help.

What are they?

What are the benefits and downsides of each option?

BRAINSTORM OF ACTIONABLE SOLUTIONS

What can we do in our own lives to combat sexual violence?

Some suggestions: 

  • Pay attention and intervene safely as a bystander, should any situation seem problematic.

  • Call out rape jokes or sexist comments as unfunny and inappropriate.  

  • Speak up and articulate how victim-blaming is harmful.

  • Teach children of all genders about consent.  

  • Challenge the definition of masculinity.

  • Reevaluate how you talk about women.

  • Check your own biases by considering how you view those accused of rape.  

  • Think critically about how you absorb the media.

  • Advocate for policy changes that support survivors, from reporting guidelines to legislation.

  • Also, like Bianca, you can impact others by telling your story.

EXERCISES FOR A LARGE GROUP OR SEATED AUDIENCE

CHECK IN/CHECK OUT 

This can be an excellent way to jump start a discussion and create common ground.  If done with expediency, this can work for larger groups as well as small. We sometimes call this "taking the temperature of the room." For the sake of time, these are best limited to a single word that describes "how you are feeling right now" or "where you are."

HAND RAISING

This also works with large groups, to "take the temperature of the room." Using declarative statements, ask participants to raise their hand when a statement applies to them. Remind them that these answers are just for today, in this moment. For example:

"I love cilantro."

"I hate cilantro." (it is often helpful to provide both sides of a statement, sometimes even an "in between")

"I am a current college student."

"I learned something new from this play."
"My life or the life of someone close to me has been affected by sexual assault."

PLANNED PRESENTATION OR TALK FROM PANELISTS

If your experts have prepared something to share, this is the time! This make take up the whole time, or just a few minutes. What works for you, your space and your participants?

 

QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS FROM PARTICIPANTS

Having introduced any guest experts earlier, this is a good time to open the floor for questions from the audience. It's vital to communicate what your rules of conduct are for these interactions. Do you ask that we do not interrupt each other? Do you require a raised hand? Will there be a time limit for each question? These guidelines protect everyone involved.

QUESTIONS TO POSE TO THE GROUP - Please reference our STUDY GUIDE!

If there is a reticence to engage, or very few questions, you can move on to asking questions of the audience. Below are some examples.

CONSENT:  Words or overt actions by a person who is legally or functionally competent to give informed approval, indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact.  

  • Consent is voluntary, mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time.

  • Past consent does not mean current or future consent.

  • There is no consent when there is force, intimidation, or coercion.

  • There is no consent if a person is mentally or physical incapacitated or impaired because one cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation.

Did Bianca consent to having sex with Chase?

What could Chase have done differently?

Remember that if you have to convince someone for sex, you are doing it wrong.  Consent is an active and verbal “Yes.” If your partner says no, maybe, or is unsure, then do not press forward.

 

RAPE MYTHS:  Rape myths are false beliefs that shift the blame from the perpetrator to the victim, and they emerged from years and years of deeply ingrained gender roles, the normalization of violence, and a lack of understanding about sexual violence and trauma.

 

Where did rape myths emerge in this story?

How did they effect Bianca?  Chase?  Susanna and Tomer?

How might we combat rape myths if we hear them being perpetuated? 

 

BYSTANDER INTERVENTION: A bystander is a person who is present when an event takes place, but isn't directly involved.  

Identify the bystanders who were present in THE GRAY.

How might they have intervened to change the outcome of the story?

TRAUMA:  Bianca tries to make sense of her memories, which are fragmented and distant.  She expresses shock and denial.  She even experiences flashbacks and nausea.  These are a normal responses to a distressing or disturbing experience, which we call trauma.

How did Susanna and Tomer try to support Bianca?  

What was the effect of the investigation on Bianca?

What ideas do you have that might improve the reporting process for individuals experiencing trauma?

ROAD TO JUSTICE:  

French describes the options that Bianca has for seeking help.

What are they?

What are the benefits and downsides of each option?

BRAINSTORM OF ACTIONABLE SOLUTIONS

What can we do in our own lives to combat sexual violence?

Some suggestions: 

  • Pay attention and intervene safely as a bystander, should any situation seem problematic.

  • Call out rape jokes or sexist comments as unfunny and inappropriate.  

  • Speak up and articulate how victim-blaming is harmful.

  • Teach children of all genders about consent.  

  • Challenge the definition of masculinity.

  • Reevaluate how you talk about women.

  • Check your own biases by considering how you view those accused of rape.  

  • Think critically about how you absorb the media.

  • Advocate for policy changes that support survivors, from reporting guidelines to legislation.

  • Also, like Bianca, you can impact others by telling your story.

© 2018 by The LadyParts Collective.


 

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