Small actions for a safer city.
What is Green Dot?
Green Dot is a nationally recognized violence prevention strategy focused on preventing power-based personal violence – sexual violence, intimate partner violence, child abuse, elder abuse, bullying and stalking. Green Dot invites everyone to reconsider their personal role in preventing violence and shifting social and cultural norms. Green Dot sees all community members as potential active bystanders and seeks to safely engage them in violence prevention by empowering them with the tools to do “green dots” – small, individual and manageable actions and behaviors that express intolerance for violence.
Why is the program called Green Dot?
Think of a movie about an epidemic spreading throughout the world. The epidemic is typically depicted by red dots covering a map. In the Green Dot strategy, we use the image of our local community map, but instead of representing cases of a disease, each red dot represents someone’s decision to do or cause harm to another. Bystanders are trained to recognize “red dots” (words or actions perpetuating or leading to violence) and to replace them with proactive or reactive “green dots” (behaviors, words, or attitudes promoting safety and communicating intolerance for violence). As these influential community members practice green dots, intolerance for violence is modeled and new norms are created. The community “map” begins to turn “green” as the red dots are displaced by the green dot actions, leading to a reduction in violence.
How can I add green dots to my community?
Reducing and preventing violence in Lexington is something in which we all play a crucial role. You can start adding green dots to the map immediately! We recognize that at first it can be a little intimidating to do a green dot. A situation might make you uncomfortable or make you feel unsafe. Sometimes you may be incapable of intervening directly, but YOU CAN DO SOMETHING.
The 3 D’s of Intervening:
- Direct – Say something to the person doing the harm, or to the person being harmed to address the impending red dot (e.g. “That’s not appropriate” or “Do you need help?”)
- Distract – Create a silly (or not so silly) distraction to divert people’s attention away from the red dot (e.g. press the panic button on your car keys if your car is near by – it works!)
- Delegate – Seek assistance from or bring the situation to the attention of someone better positioned to intervene (e.g. outgoing friend, party host, law enforcement, teacher, etc.).
Other ways to add green dots
Reactive Green Dots
If you see someone in a situation where nonconsensual sexual activity seems imminent, say something directly, create a distraction, or get somebody else to say or do something to stop it from happening.
If you’re at the movies or a restaurant and a couple nearby is arguing loudly or one of them seems really controlling, say something directly to them, create a distraction by asking them their advice on one of the movies or about the food, or delegate by asking one of the wait staff or workers to check in on them.
At school or at the office, if there is someone everyone picks on or excludes from social activities, check in on them or invite them to eat with you.
If you’re worried about a friend, family member, or acquaintance, check in on them.
Proactive Green Dots
When you see a story about dating or sexual violence, share why it makes you angry or why its coverage makes you happy.
When you see a story about something great a bystander did, share it!
Let people know what you stand for – verbally, with your actions, and with your presence on social media.
Post about Green Dot on your social media accounts.
Get involved: attend a Bystander Training or volunteer with the Green Dot program!
Bystander Awareness Month
While August is National Bystander Awareness Month, it’s always a good time to be an active bystander. As a bystander, you have the power to prevent an act of power-based personal violence (domestic violence, sexual assault, child/elder abuse, or stalking) by deciding to actively intervene. At Green Dot Lexington, safety for everyone is our top priority. We want to empower you with tools to help you intervene safely. Visit our Facebook page for tips and info on how you can #knowhow2act when you encounter abusive behavior or actions using the 3Ds of prevention: direct, delegate and distract!
We can end power-based personal violence in our city, but it’s going to take each of us working together to create a culture where violence is no longer tolerated and where everyone does their part to prevent it – will you join us in this endeavor?
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and share our posts with your network!
Even if you never see or hear abusive threats, actions or behaviors, there are ways you can still be a part of the solution and stop harmful acts before they start by being a proactive bystander. Here are ways you can harness your superpower and let others know where you stand on ending intimate partner violence, child and elder abuse, and stalking:
Learn how to act: Sign up for the next open community training – they’re virtual! Check Facebook for the upcoming training dates or contact us to schedule one for your group of six or more!
Show your support: Wear branded gear like shirts, bags, and buttons from local agencies that support or serve victims and survivors of violence (you can get a lot for free). You can like and share their social media posts and stories to help increase awareness. Participate in rallies or events and festivals around town – for instance, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and there will be events all month long. Be sure to post photos of yourself wearing Green Dot gear on social media and use the hashtags “#GreenDotLex” "#BystanderPower" and "#KnowHow2Act" so we can find you.
Take the pledge: Sign the Green Dot bystander pledge and show your commitment to helping end power-based violence in your community. Be sure to share the news with your friends!
Remember, no one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something. Use your #BystanderPower for good - we're counting on you!