UD’s Green Dot initiative instills hope

Power-based personal violence must end

By: Amanda Dee – A&E Staff Writer, Sophomore

Twenty-four people clicked 24 buttons.

“Has anyone you care about been directly affected by power-based personal violence?”

Twenty-four people clicked yes.

I didn’t recognize any of the 23 faces when I walked into the room. I didn’t even know their names. Our only obvious similarity was being a student at UD.

But, we shared more than UD.

We all not only knew someone affected by power-based personal violence, but 68 percent of us also had directly experienced it, which are red dots.

On Feb. 8, Kristen Altenau, the sexual violence prevention educator, and Alecia Smith, coordinator of alcohol and drug prevention educator, spoke to 24 UD staff members, coaches and students about red and green dots.

Red dots, according to the UD Green Dot website, are instances of power-based personal violence (sexual, stalking or partner violence). Green Dot aims to turn the red dots on the UD map green. Power-based personal violence is motivated by power, control or intimidation. Green dots are instances when red dots are not tolerated.

“The story of Green Dot etc. is one thread of many burgeoning around the country, fueled by the same impatient insistence – ‘this violence has got to stop,’” Green Dot etc. founder Dorothy Edwards said.

Twenty-four people clicked 24 buttons.

“Have you ever been a bystander in an instance of power-based personal violence?”

Twenty-one people clicked yes.

“We tend to focus on the person generating the red dot and the victim in our conversations,” Smith said. “Green Dot is so powerful because it focuses on a person that we all have been: the bystander.”

“Sometimes, we assume someone else will intervene. Sometimes, we just don’t know what to do. We’re afraid, of intervening for a stranger, or of what others might think. We don’t realize how many easy solutions are available to so many of these problems,” Altenau said.

Three signs divided areas of the room: Direct, Delegate and Distract.

Each sign represented an intervention strategy, a way to overcome the obstacles we face in red dot moments. We each walked to a sign.

Some of us would confront the perpetrator directly. Some of us would distract the possible victim (e.g., offer him or her food to remove him or her from the situation). Some of us would call friends or public safety for help.

“Green Dot addresses why we haven’t always been active bystanders in the past and acknowledges the barriers that we all have it allows us to be real for a moment and say, ‘You know, I have these obstacles but I can get around them and still do something,’” Smith said.

Twenty-four people clicked 24 buttons.

“Will you do something the next time you are a bystander in an instance of power-based personal violence?”
Twenty-four people clicked yes.

Green Dot, as Altenau described, derives its power from its inclusivity.

“No matter who you are and whether or not you have ever experienced power-based personal violence, you can do green dots and can be a part of the solution,” Altenau said.

It instills a sense of hope that other anti-violence campaigns have yet to channel.

A green dot can be “intervening on a Friday night when something doesn’t feel right,” as cited by the UD Green Dot website. It can be “talking to a friend about why this issue is important.”

“There are really only two options: do nothing or do something,” Smith said.

What will you do?

The remaining Green Dot trainings for this semester are March 1, 22 and 29. Register at go.udayton.edu/greendot. For more information contact greendot@udayton.edu.