Green Dot Training aims to reduce violence
By Heather Penn
Sun Star Reporter
The Green Dot program is a training system designed to give people of all personalities a way to help when someone is in need.
“If Facebook can change our culture so can this,” Keith Mallard, UAF chief of police, said.
Two students who recently attended a Green Dot training class at UAF witnessed a man pushing liquor on a female. She was getting quite drunk. The man forcing drinks was quite intimidating and the student was unsure of approaching him. The two students remembered one of the steps in the training, called delegation. They located the female’s friends and told them the situation. The friends ensured she went home with them. “Stories like this are what comes from training like this,” Mallard said.
The Green Dot program aims to bring an awareness to campus and the Fairbanks community using a humanitarian viewpoint. Many people want to intervene when a person is in need yet it does not happen often as witnessed by a viral YouTube video. The video shows an unconscious woman being assaulted on the beach by multiple men in a crowd of hundreds. No one helps.
Another example of Green Dot in action took place in Juneau. A couple were walking home when another couple near them started yelling at each other. To de-escalate the situation the man ran up to the inebriated couple and said there was a moose in town. This immediately distracted the couple from the argument, Mallard said. Juneau does not have moose. Establishing new norms raises awareness of the problems that sexual assault and assault cause.
According to a 2011 UAA study, “one in five college students are sexually assaulted or attempted assault.” The numbers increase each year. Ten percent of the victims are male. The program teaches the learners tools that can help them when a situation needs addressing. Using the three “D’s,” a person can learn how to directly intervene, delegate or distract.
Direct intervention is recognizing a problem and directly involving yourself in stopping the negative action. Delegation requires someone else separating the two. Lastly, distraction can come in the form of, “telling the aggressor that their car is being towed,” Mallard said. This type of approach enables people who may be particularly shy or non-confrontational a chance to still have a voice and potentially prevent a situation before it happens.
The Green Dot program is the brainchild of Dr. Dorothy Edwards, who holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. According to the Green Dot website, the goal is to prepare “organizations/communities to implement a strategy of violence prevention that consistently, measurably reduces power-based person violence (including sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, child abuse, elder abuse and bullying).” Mallard believes if you think of red dots all over a map, each one represents a moment in time when someone chose to hurt someone else.
The green dot is the same moment in time but the choice is to prevent the red dot from occurring. There will be a green dot booth set-up at mud-volleyball in the Nenana Parking during SpringFest. A small play featuring aspects of the program as it relates to the actors and storyline will be at Hess Rec.
On Friday, April 24 at 1,2, and 3 p.m. “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” a campaign aimed at bringing awareness to abuse will be at Pioneer Park on Saturday, April 25 at 2 p.m.. Participants wear high heels to literally walk a mile in her shoes.