At their cores, most abusive situations are about power and control. Abusers seek to control others because they don’t have the power they think they deserve.

“When people feel powerless, they usually ‘power up’ at someone else’s expense,” Dignity Initiative Co-Chair Sherry Rhodes said. “They might do that verbally. They might do that physically. Or they might do that sexually.”

This semester, The Dignity Initiative will present a pair of free workshops designed to attack the root of those situations by teaching students how to find and maintain their own inner power. Organizers believe that if people feel empowered within themselves, they may be able to control their stressors and won’t be as tempted to “power up” by abusing someone else. Likewise, if someone has the tools to maintain a positive and powerful presence, he or she may be less likely to be victimized.

The workshops are being presented as part of a full slate of events planned for February-April. Click here for that list and more information about The Dignity Initiative.

The first event of this year’s Dignity Initiative calendar is “The Resilience Workshop,” an interactive workshop focusing on four aspects of resilience: physical, mental, emotional and social. It will be presented on two campuses: 6-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 13 in the Central Park Campus Conference Center; and 6-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 15 in the Spring Creek Campus Living Legends Conference Center.

Students will participate in interactive activities including breathing/yoga, mindfulness, meditation and learning the effects of mindfulness and meditation on the brain, as well as reviewing theories like “Positive Psychology,” “Fixed vs Growth Mindset” and “Broaden and Build Theory.” The workshops will be presented by Collin College staff.

A second workshop is planned for March 20 featuring guest speaker Jill Simpson, who will share her story of recovery from a traumatic event. The developer of the “Body/Mind/Movement Program,” Simpson will lead students in an interactive performance workshop focusing on the power of movement to affect mood and the health of the brain. The event is from 6-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 20 at the Spring Creek Campus Living Legends Conference Center. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Contact Rhodes at srhodes@collin.edu or 972.516.5063 for more information or reservations.

These two special workshops fall outside of The Dignity Initiative’s regular rotating schedule of themed activities, which is “The Objectification of Women in Media” for spring 2018. While other events are planned for February and April to address that topic (see the full list here), Rhodes said the Dignity Initiative committee thought it was important to give students, faculty and staff tools to make a difference in the world.

“We are in our fourth year and we have been working on increasing awareness,” Rhodes said. “Now we want to make sure people know the actions they can take to affect violence against women.

“We thought that even though the thrust of these workshops is still stopping violence against women, they will also help students deal with anxiety – test anxiety, social anxiety, stress. It is all about staying in control of yourself.”

All events are free and will include refreshments.