For the past few weeks little green dots have been popping up around campus. Some students have noticed them, inquiring about their purpose, while others have simply walked straight by, not acknowledging the abnormality. These green stickers signify a new effort on Goucher’s campus to stop power based personal violence with implementation of the Green Dot Program. Chaplain Cynthia Terry, Community Living Graduate Assistant, Rochelle Kades, and Dean of Students, Gail Edmonds are heading this program on our vary campus.
“Green dot, in essence, is a bystander, focus, violence, prevention program focusing on, what they call, power based personal violence,” Kades said. “Which, on our campus, especially means sexual violence, partner violence, and stalking. So focusing on those three issues and how to mobilize bystanders to be good, active bystanders in the process of preventing power based personal violence.”
The idea for the name “Green Dot” came from clips in movies when maps are covered with red dots to represent places that have been affected by a disease or attack. The green dot is meant to counteract the red ones. And, as Kades explained, there are only a few people who take part in power based personal violence and if we stand by and don’t speak out against these behaviors, than the red dots will spread.
“Green dots are choices, actions, [or] behaviors that non violent bystanders can do to put on a map that are either literally helping to stop a violent act from happening or can be sending a message that I don’t stand for violence,” Kades explained.
The program teaches students how to deal with situations where they might suspect some sort of violence and stop it from escalating. The program calls them the three types of green dots or the three D’s: direct, distract, and delegate.Each D represents a different way to combat violent behavior. Direct, means approaching the situation yourself, distract means intervening by distracting one of the people, and delegate is getting someone else involved if you don’t feel comfortable interacting in the situation.
“[The program] is so realistically [focused],” Kades said. “We are not saying these are your obstacles so now get over them and do something because this is important. We are saying these are your obstacles so use your awareness of what obstacles resonate with you and think about how you can put a green dot on the map that fits with your own [personality].”
The initiative to combat sexual or partner violence has been in the works for five years, but the launch of Green Dot at Goucher signifies a formal initiative, which includes the participation of students.On March 12, twenty-three Goucher students from various years, majors, clubs, and sports teams, attended a 7-hour training session with Terry and Kades.
“Most of us had no idea what we were getting into, but it turned out to be a fun day,” Elijah Lais ’12 said. “We had an opportunity to share how violence has affected us [or] someone we knew, and almost every person in the room had multiple moving and horrific stories to tell . . . this violence isn’t something that’s ‘out there’, rather it is something that is negatively affecting our community on a daily basis.”
Some of the attendees, including Leroy Williams ’13, a Community Assistant and a member of the men’s basketball team, saw the training as an opportunity to publicize the importance of standing up against violence. “I feel that every student has faced some type of situation where they thought that maybe I should have said something, maybe I should have did something, maybe I should have told somebody and they didn’t and they kind of feel guilty about it,” Williams expressed. “Going to this program is going to widen students eyes and say that we kind of do have a problem, it actually happens in real life. This is not just in a movie or in the news at some other college that it can happen here right across the street or in another person’s room.”
The students involved in the training felt that the hours of learning about the Green Dot taught them, and will hopefully help other Goucher students how to deal with situations of this nature.
“As a CA, I know Goucher’s dark sides at times,” Williams explained. “And also as an athlete, I witnessome interestingfactors and I feel like having this program
is going to help Goucher be cause it kindof narrows and focuses and [has] a direct purpose. You should just speak up. It gets straight to the point, it makes all the goals and criteria simple.”
Through the programming and information sessions, Kades and Terry expand on the idea of standing up in situations like what Williams suggests.
“The reality is there are all these bystanders who are all over the place who can do something,” Terry said. “Part of what is really great about this program, [is that] the training involves learning to identify what are red dot behaviors, checking out how you are going to know if it’s a red dot.”
Here are a few facts Terry presented when trying to identify if a situation may lead to a green dot: take a second look, check in with somebody, and if it were somebody you loved, would you want a bystander to do something? “Partly [these practices] help us train our gut instincts and know how to trust them. If you get that feeling… check it out… would you want somebody to do that for your little sister?” Terry said.
There is an immense amount of information about this program and initiative. There will be more events after spring break including another full-day training session on April 1. If you are interested in being a part of the training, contact Cynthia Terry or Rochelle Kades.
But going to an event is not the only way to be a green dot. Students can simply stand up against sexual violence using one of the three D’s and send their Green Dot to email@example.com. Or, they can talk about the initiative, spreading the word to friends and family via social networking or word of mouth. “One of the main quotes that Green Dot uses to push their agenda is, ‘no one can do everything, but everyone can do something’– and if we get everyone to contribute in some small way, I think that it would go a long way towards improving Goucher,” Lais said.