University of Dayton community members participated in “Green Dot” bystander training session to educate them on the ways to intervene or prevent a situation involving sexual violence, known as a “red dot” event. Kristen Altenau, the sexual violence prevention education coordinator, led the training. COURTESY OF AMANDA DEE
By: Alise Jarmusz- Staff Writer
Green dots have been popping up across the University of Dayton’s campus to create curiosity about sexual violence prevention training.
Kristen Altenau, the sexual violence prevention education coordinator, said in order to understand green dots, one must first understand red dots.
“A red dot represents a moment of violence in our community,” Altenau said.
About one in five women experience some form of sexual violence before graduating, she said. For the past three years, there have been at least 27 instances of forcible sexual assault across campus and at nearby public properties, according to the 2013 Campus Security and Fire Safety Report issued by Public Safety.
Altenau said any person can create his or her own green dot by intervening before a situation becomes a “red dot moment.” A green dot is an individual choice at any moment to make the community safer, she said.
Altenau explained green dots are not only created through reactions to a potential red dot, but through proactive measures. She said free Green Dot training sessions are being offered to anyone willing to learn how to prevent and react to red dot situations.
Altenau said it is her goal to have green dots substantially outnumber red dots, and so far her plan is working. She said there have been more than 100 registrations for Green Dot training since the green dots began popping up on campus three weeks ago.
Altenau explained everyone from students, to faculty, to organization presidents have signed up for the seven-hour session to learn skills needed to make the community a safer place.
Megan Abbate, a senior English and adolescence to young adult education major and Student Government Association president, attended Green Dot training and said she thought it offered an opportunity to think more about what it means to be a member of UD community.
“Something we always talk about here at UD is how awesome this community is…but we also have this notion that I think is kind of a myth: that because we have this awesome community, bad things don’t happen here,” Abbate said.
She said the first step is recognizing UD isn’t a protective bubble.
“We have the ability, and really the responsibility, to have a positive impact to try to prevent those bad things from happening,” she said.
Altenau said the training session has four parts: an overview and intro to the program, information and statistics on red dots, an exploration of personal and social barriers that prevent people from intervening, and finally, instruction on how to successfully create green dots.
Altenau explained the engaging and interactive training allows people to practice creating green dots in different types of situations.
“No matter who you are, you can do a green dot,” she said.
Andrew Koerner, a senior mechanical engineering major, recently participated in the Green Dot training and said he enjoyed the training despite its length.
“Seven hours of anything seems like too much, but time flew by because we were so actively engaged in sharing thoughts and opinions and learning from each other,” he said.
“I left Green Dot training confident in its message, which is really quite simple: no one has to do everything, but everyone can do something,” he said. “The actual stats on power based violence are alarming to me, and I am really happy to see this initiative taking off. With this initiative I believe red dots will eventually just drown in a sea of green.”
Abbate said the students should be empowered to stand up against violence in the community.
“Green dot is how can we redefine our community here at UD. To say that this is a place where we don’t tolerate violence. This is a place where we actually stand up and take action against those acts on our campus,” she said.
Through the Green Dot training program, Altenau said she hopes to change the culture of the community.
“Dot by dot, we can make our community a violence-free place,” she said.
To learn more about the Green Dot initiative or to register for the training, visit www-secure.udayton.edu/studev/dean/GreenDot.php or email Kristen Altenau at email@example.com.