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Green Dot Strategy

What’s with the Green Dot?
Visualize for a moment the unforgettable image of small red dots spreading across a computer-generated map of the U.S., symbolizing the spread of some terrible epidemic. Each tiny red dot represents an individual case. With disturbing speed, three or four dots multiply and spread, until the whole map emits a red glow comprising a zillion tiny dots.

Now, imagine for a moment a map of Whitworth. Each red dot on this map represents an act of power-based personal violence (partner violence, sexual violence, stalking, bullying, harassment) or a choice to tolerate, justify or perpetuate this violence. A red dot is a rape, a slap, a threat, an individual choice to do nothing in the face of a high-risk situation. Power-based personal 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 men and women from every corner of our world. It's difficult to know exactly how many red dots are on our map at any given moment, but we do know that there have been enough red dots to create a culture that sustains far too much violence. Nearly a quarter of women become victims of violence during their lifetime, and an untold number of men experience similar trauma.

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 session for your student organization, displaying an awareness poster in your office, striking up a conversation with a friend about how much this issue matters to you, responding to a derogatory or hurtful comment instead of ignoring it, 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 power-based personal violence? How many of us need to add two or three or seven or 50 dots to this map to begin to make a difference so that Green Dots will outnumber 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 to replace moments of violence with moments of support and safety‚ then we will surely continue to have more than 25 percent of women and countless men become victims of violence. That is not okay. That must not be okay with any of us.

Green Dot is a national movement developed by Dorothy Edwards at the University of Kentucky. It is currently in place at other universities and colleges throughout the country and in Washington state.

Green Dot Strategy
The Green Dot strategy is a comprehensive approach to violence prevention 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 Whitworth community members (students, staff and faculty) as potential bystanders and seeks to engage them, through awareness, education and skills-practice, in proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm and encourage reactive intervention in high-risk situations, resulting in the ultimate reduction of violence. The goal is for individuals to engage in a basic education program that equips them to integrate moments of prevention within their daily life and relationships. By doing so, they will help to establish new norms and to empower those within their sphere of influence to move from passive agreement that violence is wrong to active intervention. Conceptually, Green Dot comprises three basic components:

  • a single choice in one moment in time to use your voice, actions or choices to make one small corner of the world safer;

  • a shared vision that creates momentum through the power of a common language and purpose;

  • a social movement that harnesses the power of peer influence and the choices of individual bystanders to create lasting culture change that results in the ultimate reduction of power-based personal violence.