What is Green Dot?
Green Dot is a comprehensive violence prevention strategy that depends on the power of bystanders to prevent violence and shift social and cultural norms. Green Dot sees all community members as potential active bystanders and seeks to safely engage them in violence prevention. Active bystanders do “green dots” by expressing intolerance for violence through both proactive and reactive behaviors.
Why is the program called Green Dot?
Think of a movie about an epidemic that has spread throughout the world. This is typically depicted by red dots covering a map. In the Green Dot strategy, instead of representing cases of a disease, each red dot represents someone’s decision to contribute to violence. Influential and respected individuals across community subgroups are trained to recognize “red dots” (words or actions tolerating or leading to violence) and to replace them with proactive and reactive “green dots” (behaviors, words, or attitudes promoting safety and communicating intolerance for violence). As these influential community members practice green dots, intolerance for violence is modeled and new norms are created. The community “map” begins to displace red dots and fill with green dots, leading to a reduction in violence.
Does Green Dot work?
The Center for Women and Families is currently implementing Green Dot in four Kentuckiana high schools and in one Kentuckiana neighborhood. A CDC-funded study showed a reduction of self-reported sexual violence perpetration of more than 50% in high schools implementing Green Dot.
How can I add green dots to my community?
Reducing and preventing violence in Kentuckiana is something in which we all play a crucial role. You can start adding green dots to the map immediately! Creating green dots can be hard, though. A situation might make you uncomfortable or make you feel unsafe. Sometimes you may be incapable of intervening directly. That’s why it is important to consider all of our options!
We can say or do something directly to address the impending red dot. We could create a silly (or not silly) distraction to divert people’s attention away from the red dot. Finally, we have the option to delegate action to someone else (e.g. outgoing friend, party host, law enforcement, teacher, etc.). Here are just a few ways you can start adding green dots today:
- Be vocal about your intolerance for violence.
- Speak up when someone tells a rape joke or makes a sexist comment.
- If you see someone in a situation where nonconsensual sexual activity seems imminent, say something directly, create a distraction, or get somebody else to say or do something to stop it from happening.
- If you’re at the movies or a restaurant and a couple nearby is arguing loudly or one of them seems really controlling, say something directly, create a distraction by asking them for a review of one of the movies or dishes, or ask one of the staff members to check in on them.
- At school or at the office, if there is someone everyone picks on or excludes from social activities, check in on them or invite them to eat with you.
- If you’re worried about a friend, family member, or acquaintance, check in on them.
- When you see a story about dating or sexual violence, share why it makes you angry (or why its coverage makes you happy).
- When you see a story about something great a bystander did, share it.
- Let people know what you stand for – verbally, with your actions, and with your presence on social media.
- Post about Green Dot on your social media accounts.
- Get involved with the Green Dot program! (see included contact information)
Do you have other ideas for green dots? We would love to hear about them! Connect with Green Dot Kentuckiana on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.