Green Dot Strategy
The Green Dot strategy is a comprehensive approach to the primary prevention of violence that capitalizes on the power of peer and cultural influence across all levels of the socio-ecological model. Informed by social change theory, the model targets all community members as potential agents of social change. It seeks to engage them, through awareness, education and skills-practice, in proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm, as well as reactive interventions in high-risk situations- resulting in the ultimate reduction of violence. Specifically, the program proposes to target socially influential individuals from across community subgroups. The goal is for these groups to engage in a basic education program that will equip them to integrate moments of prevention within existing relationships and daily activities. By doing so, new norms will be introduced and those within their sphere of influence will be significantly influenced to move from passive agreement that violence is wrong, to active intervention.
Visualize for a moment that unforgettable image of small red dots spreading across a computer-generated map of the US, symbolizing the spread of some terrible epidemic -- with each tiny red dot representing an individual case. With disturbing speed, the three or four single dots multiply and spread until the whole map emits a red glow comprised of a zillion tiny dots.
Now imagine for a moment a map of UK. Each red dot on this map represents an act of sexual and gender-based interpersonal violence (partner violence, sexual violence, or stalking) -- or a choice to tolerate, justify or perpetuate this violence. A red dot is a rape, a hit, a threat, a statement that justifies or minimizes the violence, or an individual choice to do nothing in the face of a high risk situation. Interpersonal violence is not a huge, solid mass that can simply be removed with one swift action or policy. Rather, it is the accumulation of individual decisions, moments, values, and actions made by the men and women from every corner of our campus -- students, faculty, staff and administrators. It's hard to know exactly how many red dots are on our map at any given moment -- but we do know there have been enough red dots to create a culture that sustains far too many victims of violence. Now, imagine adding a green dot in the middle of all those red dots on our map. A green dot represents any behavior, choice, word, or attitude that promotes safety for all of us and communicates utter intolerance for any form of violence. A green dot is pulling a friend out of a high risk situation, responding to a victim-blaming statement with words of support, posting a message on Facebook, coordinating a training for your student org, displaying an awareness poster in your office, wearing your Green Dot gear, striking up a conversation with a friend about how much this issue matters to you, or even writing a paper or giving a speech on violence prevention. A green dot is simply your individual choice at any given moment to make our community safer.
How many green dots will it take to begin reducing sexual and gender-based interpersonal violence at UK? How many of us need to add 2 or 3 or 7 or 50 dots to this map to begin to make a difference and begin to outshine and displace those red dots? We cannot know the exact number, but we do know this: if most of us choose inaction, if most of us choose to close our eyes to this issue, if most of us choose apathy and indifference -- then the red dots stand! If we do not begin replacing moments of violence and inaction with moments of support and safety, then we will surely continue to have our friends, partners, students, colleagues and classmates become victims. That is not OK. That must not be OK with any of us.
Start Doing Dots Today
Green Dot is built on the premise that in order to measurably reduce the perpetration of interpersonal violence, a cultural shift is necessary. In order to create a cultural shift, a critical mass of people will need to engage in a new behavior or set of behaviors that will make violence less sustainable within any given community. The "new behavior" is a green dot. The following are some example scenarios in which green dots are utilized:
- On a large college campus, Sarah steps onto an elevator to find two young men attempting to coerce an intoxicated female student into getting off on their all-male floor. Just as the drunk girl is about to step off the elevator with the two men, Sarah touches her arm and simply says "This is the all-guys floor. Why don't you let me get you back to your room?"
- Marigail is submitting another online order of Green Dot lapel pins to her usual vendor. This time, the vendor writes back, "What do these pins mean anyway?" Marigail sends back an email describing in detail the power and purpose of the Green Dot. Within hours, the vendor writes back, "I have begun wearing the pin. I printed off your explanation, and whenever someone asks me what the pin means, I simply pull your explanation out of my pocket and give it to them to read. I've had three people just today ask me."
- Jeff, a young fraternity pledge, has been designated as the sober driver for the evening. Upon receiving a call, he pulls to the front of the bar and picks up an older fraternity brother and a young woman he had never met. His fraternity brother instructs him to take them both back to his place. The woman protests that he had promised to get her back to her own house. His older brother insists that Jeff ignore the pleas of the woman. With only a moments' hesitation, Jeff takes the girl back to her place.
- Using "Green Dots for Men" as his guide, Alfred, a local police officer, strikes up a conversation with his son on the car ride home about men's powerful role in preventing violence
- Stopped at a red light, Mark notices a physical altercation in the car next to him. The male driver is grabbing his female passenger and yelling. When the light turns green, Mark pauses long enough to let the car pull in front, writes down the license plate numbers, and calls the cops to make a report.
- Sandy notices a disturbance at a dance club. A woman appears to be getting increasing aggressive toward her girlfriend. Sandy keeps her eyes on the couple, while gathering some additional friends for support. They stay close until the situation calms, then several of them approach the apparent victim to check in and see if she needs additional help
- Meghan is pulling out of the driveway of an apartment complex where she was visiting friends, and notices a "creepy" guy hanging out nearby. She lingers long enough to try and figure out who the guy is and where he is going, but he doesn't leave and her gut is telling her he doesn't belong there. Though she is in a hurry, she stops by the police station on the way to share her concerns. At first, they appear to minimize her report, stating that the incident is happening outside of their jurisdiction. Meghan persists until the police leave to investigate.
- Dan, a college dean, is concerned as his wife shares about a young student of hers who has just been removed from an abusive home. Aware the increased risk this young boy now faces of becoming a perpetrator himself, Dan begins spending one-on-one time with the boy each week before school reading, mentoring, and talking.
- Kristen is watching a TV show with her guy friends when she sees something see feels is dismissive and objectionable to women. Despite some initial reluctance, she voices her opinion. At first a couple of the guys give her a hard time, but then Pete speaks up and agrees with her. The other guys take note, and a conversation ensues.
The individuals who are responsible for these single green dot moments are not rare, unique individuals - but merely informed and motivated. Get educated. Get equipped. Act.
Green Dots You Can Do Right Now
Green dots for the busy:
- Send a mass email to your contact list with a simple message, "This issue is important to me and I believe in the goal of reducing violence."
- Change your email signature line to include the statement, "Proud to be a GREEN DOT supporter" and include the link to the VIP website.
- Make a donation to a local rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter and write, "GREEN DOT supporter" in the memo line.
- Next time you are walking to class with a friend, have one conversation and tell them that ending violence matters to you.
- Add a "Green Dot supporter" statement on your Facebook profile. Make one announcement to one group or organization you are involved in, telling them about GREEN DOT.
- Put a green dot on your door so people will know you are a green dot supporter.
- Make Green Dot the topic of a paper or speech you have to do for a class.
Green dots for men:
- Tell a woman in your life that sexual and gender-based interpersonal violence matters to you.
- Ask women in your life how interpersonal violence has impacted them.
- Ask a man in your life how interpersonal violence has impacted him or someone he cares about.
- Have one conversation with one male friend or relative about the GREEN DOT.
- Ask a woman in your life what you can do to help take a stand against violence.
- Ask one male friend or relative what he thinks about sexual and gender-based interpersonal violence and what men could do to help stop it.
- Visit the Jackson Katz website (http://www.jacksonkatz.com/) and read "10 Things Men Can Do To End Gender Violence."
- Have a conversation with a younger man or boy who looks up to you about how important it is for men to help end violence.
- Google "men against violence" and read what men around the country are doing.
- If you suspect someone you care about is a victim of violence, gently ask if you can help.
- Attend an awareness event with three male friends.
- Organize a men's event to raise money to support violence prevention.
- Text your three best guy friends that you went to the Green Dot training and you want to talk to them about it.
Green dots for those who aren't sure they care:
- Ask 5 people in your life how sexual and gender-based interpersonal violence has impacted them (directly or indirectly) and listen to their response.
- Think about the women in your life that you care most about, and consider that they have 1 in 3 odds of becoming victims of violence in their lifetime.
- Tell one person how you would feel if she did become a victim.
- Educate yourself about the impact of violence on victims and those who love them.
- Talk to all the other students who do care. Ask them to tell you why they are into it.
Proactive green dots:
- Wear a green dot t-shirt one day this week and explain to someone what it means.
- Talk to a guy friend of yours about the importance of men getting involved in prevention.
- Wear a Green Dot button one day this week.
- Bring a friend to an awareness event.
- Integrate information about power-based personal violence (PBPV) into one class discussion.
- Volunteer for one hour, and bring a friend.
- Request a presentation from your local or campus violence prevention program.
- Talk to a leader in a student organization that you are involved in and recommend that the membership take the Green Dot Bystander training.
- Write a letter to the editor of the Kernel talking about any aspect of PBPV that is most powerful to you (i.e., the importance of everyone getting involved, or anything that you learned at the training).
- Discuss with friends a situation portrayed in the media (a movie, TV show, news story, billboard, YouTube, etc.) that might support a culture of PBPV and explain why it upsets you.
- Talk to a female friend about the importance of women getting involved in prevention.
- Carry a green dot water bottle one day this week.
- Integrate information about any form of sexual and gender-based interpersonal violence into a class assignment (i.e., paper or speech or presentation).
- Attend a Green Dot training then tell 2 friends you attended and ask them to go next time.
- Find out how Art and Activism works to end violence.
- Take a friend to lunch and talk about how this issue is important to you and ask for their help.
- Tell someone that you know that way too many students will be victims of violence and that you feel like you need to be a part of reducing it.
- Write a paragraph about your connection to sexual and gender-based interpersonal violence and post it on your Facebook page.
Reactive and Proactive Green Dots:
- If I suspect that my friend has been drugged, I seek professional help.
- If I saw someone who was intoxicated left behind by her/his friends, I would tell them to take her/him with them.
- If I suspect that my friend is in an abusive relationship, I ask her/him and provide information about resources available.
- If I suspect a friend has been sexually assaulted, I let her/him know I am here if they want to talk.
- If I hear someone yelling and fighting, I call 911.
- If I see someone spike another person's drink, I stop them and call police or get someone else to.
- If I see a friend grab, push or insult another person, I say something, go get help or get someone else to.
- If I see a stranger grab, push or insult another person, I say something or go get help or get someone else to.
- If I see a friend take an intoxicated person up the stairs, I stop and ask what is going on â€“ or create a distraction to interrupt the situation.
- If someone appears upset, I ask if they are okay.
- If I notice someone has a large bruise, I ask how they were hurt.
- If I see a person sexually assaulting another person, I intervene.
- If my professor explains that women "say 'no' when they really mean 'yes'," I interrupt and make an attempt to educate the professor.
- I talk to my friends about consent... and how he or she should wait until their partner verbalizes his/her feelings.
- If I choose to leave a party early, I account for the people I came with.
- If I see two men dragging a woman into a room, I call for help and intervene.
- I will offer to watch my friends' drinks when they leave the table.
- If I know or suspect that a friend is in an abusive relationship (physically, sexually, or emotionally), I tell them they can confide in me.
- I share statistics with my friends about sexual and gender-based interpersonal violence.
- If someone needs my help and I don't have the answer, I tap my resources and find someone who does.
- I work to ensure organizations I am involved in collaborate with prevention efforts on campus.
- I take the opportunity to write papers or give speeches in class about the issue of violence.
- I strike up conversations with my friends about the importance of intervening in potentially high-risk situations.
- I go investigate if I am awakened at night by someone calling for help.
- If I see someone at a party who has had too much to drink, I ask them if they need to be walked home so they can go to sleep.
- If a woman is being shoved or yelled at by a man, I ask her if she needs help.
- If a man is being shoved or harassed by others, I ask him if he needs help.
- If I hear what sounds like yelling and fighting through my dorm walls I knock on the door to see if everything is ok.
- If I hear what sounds like yelling or fighting through my dorm or apartment walls, I talk with a resident counselor or someone else who can help.
- If I saw several strangers dragging a passed out woman up to their room, I would get help and try to intervene.
- If I hear an acquaintance talking about forcing someone to have sex with them, I speak up against it and express concern for the person who was forced.
- I will say something to a person whose drink I saw spiked with a drug even if I didn't know them.
- Grab someone else's cup and pour their drink out if I saw that someone slipped something into it.
- Call a rape crisis center for help if a friend, acquaintance or stranger told me they were sexually assaulted.
- Confront friends who make excuses for abusive behavior by others.
- Speak up if I hear someone say "s/he deserved to be raped."
- Educate myself about sexual and gender-based interpersonal violence and what I can do about it.
- Encourage a friend to do the Green Dot training.
- Encourage a friend to go through the Circuit training.
- I see a couple, whether I know them or not, in a heated argument. One's fist is clenched and the partner looks upset. I ask if everything is ok.
- I see a man talking to a woman at a bar. He is sitting very close to her and by the look on her face I can see she is uncomfortable. I ask her if she is ok.
- If I know information about an incident of sexual violence, I tell authorities what I know in case it is helpful.
Green Dot opportunities are infinite. You don't have to do them all, but you have to do some. Look for the green dots where your skill, interest, passion and opportunity intersect! That is where you can have the biggest impact. Everyone has a part to play in ending violence at UK and in their communities.