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What’s Your Green Dot?

Posted by on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 in College Life.

This past Monday, I went to a talk by Dr. Dorothy Edwards concerning the start of the Green Dots Campaign at Vanderbilt.

From Vanderbilt’s Women’s Center’s Website:

“The Green Dot primary prevention initiative is a new way of thinking about and doing prevention. Green Dot is about culture change – harnessing the power of individual choices to shift our current norms. It was designed by integrating some of the best research on social change, diffusion of innovation, communication, persuasion, bystander intervention, and perpetrator patterns into a program that makes practical sense.

The Institute will feature Green Dot author Dr. Dorothy J. Edwards of the University of Kentucky. Dr. Edwards and the Green Dot training team will train participants on launching a Green Dot movement in their communities, agencies and universities.  Green Dot Institute participants will be certified to implement both phases of the Green Dot curriculum (Phase 1: Green Dot Persuasive Speech; Phase II: Green Dot Bystander Training). The training will include a comprehensive review of the philosophy, research-base, and curriculum of Green Dot.”

The gist of the talk was about preventing power-based personal violence.  Dr. Edwards talked about how at 19, she had been a victim of rape; when her daughter was 16, her daughter experienced sexual assault.  These two experiences shaped her life mission and purpose to prevent sexual assault and violence.  She noted that for every act of violence committed, there is 40 people who could have somehow along the way stopped it from happening.  The main goal of her talk was that she wanted the audience members to commit themselves to standing up and stopping “what may happen.”

I truly enjoyed her message and thought that some of the stories she gave to us were pretty realistic.  It can be hard to not just be a bystander and condone sexual violence occurring.  She mentioned a simple act of  walking someone to their room when they’re intoxicated or distracting the person who is trying to take advantage of someone else and then getting the potential victim away from the situation.

Yes, it’s difficult to have cultural change.  BUT it’s possible.  The spread of facebook has been an amazing example of that.  Dr. Edwards urged us to be part of this new culture change that is happening and to stand up and refuse to implicitly be an accomplice to the crime by doing nothing.

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