“The power of Green Dot is simple: Red dots bad. Green dots good. You decide.”
Picture in your mind a map of the world, imagining every country, state, city, and smaller communities alike; even your own community. Now imagine each act of power-based personal violence, such as partner violence, sexual violence, stalking, bullying, child abuse, elder abuse, etc., is represented by a red dot.
Although we can never know the exact amount of red dots or where they exist at any given point in time, we do know they exist, and to a greater extent than whatever should be. These actions of violence are usually too often ignored, or even hidden.
Many victims of these acts go unheard, which only perpetuates the problem. Too many rape victims do not come forward with allegations because they think no one will believe them, or they will be blamed for it themselves. Child abuse victims may not even know what is happening or they may accept it as normal due to their age, and misinformation given to them by the abuser. These atrocious acts happen every day, in every community across the world, far too often.
The Green Dot Initiative is a movement that takes a stand against this violence, against the huge number of red dots. It is an initiative that aims at replacing all red dots with green dots, where the green dot is any individual choice that promotes safety for all and has no tolerance for violence.
An action that creates a green dot can be small or big; it can involve helping a friend or bringing awareness of the different types of violence to your community. A green dot is created when anyone, anywhere, decides to actively push against violence and speak up for the victims who may not have a voice.
This can have a huge impact, especially on college campuses. A lot of universities see cases of violence like this, but not a lot of instances of support or sources of voice for the victims involved. Bringing the green dot initiative to a college campus would not only raise a significant amount of awareness towards violence, but it could also spark a movement towards creating a “green dot environment.”
The Green Dot Initiative originated from a woman named Dorothy Edwards, whose career focused on bringing awareness to and preventing violence. With little progress, and after years of info sessions and talks about violence, she decided to change everything.
She turned to research first, looking at literature that spoke of violence against women, and then to topics that included “diffusion of innovation, public health, social networking, psychology, communications, bystander dynamics, perpetration, and marketing and advertising.” This research then lead her to realize that she could learn from those who have worked to prevent violence in the past, and build of their successes.
Eventually, the Green Dot Prevention Strategy was born, where the broader goal has been to “mobilize a force of engaged and proactive bystanders” (livethegreendot.com).
For more information about the Green Dot Initiative and to find out how to get involved, visit livethegreendot.com.