Imagine a map of our campus. Each red dot on this map represents an act of power-based personal violence (partner violence‚ sexual violence, stalking, etc.)– or a choice to tolerate‚ justify or perpetuate this violence. A red dot is a rape – a red dot is a hit – a red dot is a threat – a red dot is an individual choice to do nothing in the face of a potentially 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 the men and women from every corner of our world. It’s hard to know exactly how many red dots are on our map at any given moment – but we do know there have been enough red dots to create a culture that sustains far too many women and men experiencing violence on our campus.
Now imagine adding a green dot in the middle of all those red dots on our map. A green dot is any behavior‚ choice‚ word‚ or attitude that promotes safety for all our citizens and communicates utter intolerance for violence. A green dot is pulling a friend out of a high risk situation – a green dot is telling your friends about the Green Dot program - a green dot is displaying an awareness poster in your room – a green dot is putting a green dot message on your Facebook page – a green dot is striking up a conversation with a friend or family member about how much this issue matters to you. A green dot is simply your individual choice at any given moment to make our world safer.
How many green dots will it take to begin reducing power-based personal violence? How many of us need to add 2 or 3 or 7 or 50 dots to this map to begin to make a difference and begin to 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 replacing moments of violence with moments of support and safety‚ then we will surely continue to have our partners, friends, and colleagues become victims of violence. That is not OK. That must not be OK with any of us.
The power of Green Dot is simple: Red dots bad. Green dots good. You decide.
For more information about the international Green Dot organization or to learn about other campuses involved in Green Dot, please visit the Green Dot, web page: http://livethegreendot.com/index.html
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