"Be The Change" to Combat Sexual Assault

Be the Change is a 30-minute Emmy Award-winning educational film that serves as a resource to university administrators across the country. The film aims to change the culture that allows sexual assaults to occur on college campuses. “We want them to learn about consent, bystander intervention, how to be safe, how to avoid the date rape drug,” Rosemary says. “We want to be honest with these students.”

The film addresses the path to survival, how to report the crime, what it means to give consent and how to empower change.  Also referenced are the federal training and education guidelines for colleges for combating sexual violence on their campuses. There is a national campaign to market the program. By offering a perspective of hope and healing, the film brings light to a very dark and difficult issue and empowers students so they can positively influence their culture for change. 

In the film, the CNU community is an example of change, coming together to fight sexual assaults. The football and athletic communities, fraternities, sororities, as well as the entire campus are saying enough is enough. The film will be offered to 400 campuses across America to be used as a starting point for discussions on their campuses.

Be the Change is designed to be viewed as part of a larger program, which includes a discussion panel, a research toolkit, statistics on rape and several other resources.

Every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States.  Rosemary wants to tell others that the cycle of fear can be broken and lost joy can be found.  Her life is a testament to the power of forgiveness and believes that what was meant for evil is now being used for good.   In 2009, someone asked Rosemary two questions: “What if you didn’t have to be so afraid?” and “What if you could help someone else not to be so afraid?”  These questions inspired her to share her own journey from fear to freedom.  Rosemary was raised in a strong Christian home and she accepted Jesus as a child at a Billy Graham Crusade.  In 1975, she had been married to Paul for four years, and he had begun his political career winning his first race to become Commonwealth’s Attorney for Essex County, VA.  Rosemary got a job an hour away from their home, hosting and producing her own daily women’s show on WTVR in Richmond, VA called “Rosemary’s Guestbook.”  In December, she did a show about sexual assault, which was not talked about on TV in those days.  The station was flooded with calls and letters, as hundreds of women responded.  The next week Rosemary stayed overnight in Richmond to tape extra shows to air over Christmas.   At 11 pm, she went down to the restaurant for coffee.  Returning upstairs, she unlocked her door and went to her writing desk.  With her back to the windows, she heard the curtains part. A man grabbed her from behind and she felt the cold steel of a gun muzzle on her temple and his gloved hand around her neck.  “OK, Miss Cute Talk Show host, what do you do with a gun at your head?” Although Rosemary struggled and fought, pleaded and prayed, he raped her viciously. As he finally left, he said, “I will kill you if you tell.  I know where you live.”  Still, Rosemary immediately called the front desk and they sent security and the police, but no trace was found of the rapist.  She called Paul, who was visiting his parents, and he immediately drove two hours to Richmond.  The police had no leads.  She was sure her assailant had raped many other women.  

The night of Rosemary’s rape had been a night of horror, but even more devastating was the fear the rapist had planted into her heart like a dagger.   For months Rosemary was overwhelmed with fear and shame and worthlessness as she cried out to Jesus.  Gradually as she turned to the Word for comfort, the intimacy with the Holy Spirit returned.  Determining that the rapist would not win, Rosemary decided to fight for her joy to return and write down every day something she as grateful for.  As she gradually healed, Paul’s political career took off as he entered the race for Congress from Virginia’s First District in 1976.   She was pregnant, and then gave birth to their first child, Mary Katherine while she was still healing from the rape.  Having Mary Katherine gave her joy and her fear subsided, however, Rosemary felt violated again when the Trible home was robbed six months later.  She cried out to God, “I can’t live with this fear.  Come hold me close.  I need your presence more than anything.  Lord, I surrender everything in my life to you.”  This was a turning point for Rosemary.  She knew she couldn’t overcome this without God giving her strength.  After a few moments, she heard in her heart, “Do not fear…I am here.”  She experienced God’s love and realized that He is not about religion, He is about relationship.  Eventually, she forgave her rapist, and has since turned her fear to freedom.

Rosemary was inspired to start Fear 2 Freedom when she met Mother Teresa in 1997, six months before she passed away. Rosemary says Mother Teresa challenged her to do good work. “It was like looking in the eyes of Jesus,” said Rosemary. There was such an unconditional love.” Rosemary asked Mother Teresa, “How do I do this?” Mother Teresa responded, “Go home and do what is right in front of you. Love who is right in front of you.”

In 2010, Rosemary founded the non-profit, Fear 2 Freedom, which is dedicated to redeeming and restoring lives wounded by sexual abuse, bringing them hope and healing.  “We are in the business of ‘redeeming joy’ to those who have been sexually assaulted or abused, encouraging them on their own journey from fear to freedom,” she says.  The “2” in the group’s name represents that every two minutes someone in sexually assaulted in our country.  Statistics show one out of six women and one in thirty three men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.  Girls are four times more likely to be abused during their college years. Fear 2 Freedom’s Where is the Line? program partners universities with hospitals to raise understanding regarding date rape, sexual assault, and sex trafficking. By assembling after-care kits for victims of abuse and domestic violence, university students are empowered to make a tangible difference in the lives of those abused. The first 24-hours after an assault are critical for a victim to determine how she will respond, and whether she will pursue avenues for counseling or further investigation. The after-care kits are a simple act of kindness to victims since those that come to the hospital have all their clothes kept for evidence. Oftentimes they have to leave the hospital in paper scrubs without even taking a shower. The kits include sweatpants, a t-shirt, underwear, a journal, pen, toiletries and a Freedom Bear and book that provides comforts and helps them articulate their trauma to begin their healing. The children’s kit called “Bear Gear” includes the same essentials as the adults but adds age-appropriate items such as coloring/activity books, and toys since the exams usually takes two hours or more.  The bear was inspired by a young woman Rosemary knows who was violently raped at age seven.  She was holding her teddy bear, and when she was attacked, the bear was thrown against the fence where it was torn.  After the attack, the girl wrote notes and stuffed them inside the bear to help her work through the pain of the rape. 

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Founder, Fear 2 Freedom

Creator, Be the Change, film that addresses sexual assault on college campuses

Author, Fear to Freedom: What if You Did Not Have to Be So Afraid? (VMI Publishers 2009)

America’s Junior Miss in 1967

Former Asst. Press Secretary for Sen. John McClellan (AK)

Hosted a CBS affiliate morning TV talk show Rosemary’s Guestbook in Richmond, VA

Founder & Pres. of Friendship Imports, an int’l importing company

Vice Pres. of Lascaris Design Group in Washington, DC

Education: Univ. of TX, Radio, Film, and TV

Married to Former Senator Paul Trible (currently president of Christopher Newport University CNU,)

Two children & two grandchildren.


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