Have you been seeing green dots on campus?
The "Green Dot" Campaign is a social norms program that UTC has adopted to demonstrate our committment to making campus safe for all students, faculty and staff.
Green dots are a visual reminder that violence is not tolerated on campus. It is a way ro remind all of us to be active participants working to create a safe and healthy environment.
For more information view a Power Point on the topic!
Research suggests that interpersonal violence is a serious problem in our culture. For example, national studies report that as many as 22% of women have experienced interpersonal violence by an intimate partners (e.g. boyfriend, husband, or date -- see Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998). Similarly, research suggests that about 25% of college women are victims of attempted or completed rapes (Koss et. al, 1987; Rubenzahyl & Corcoran, 1998). While figures vary somewhat, experts in the field agree that violence against women is a serious social problem.
While all of us on campus would like to believe that we are insulated from social problems, interpersonal violence among college students, nationally, is high. As a result, UTC has taken pro-active steps to raise awareness and provide direct services for victims who may have experienced interpersonal violence or abuse on or off campus. While education and awareness events are important, we also are concerned that we go further and try to prevent violence against women and all types of interpersonal violence. The Green Dot Campaign is part of that effort.
Why green dots?
There is nothing particularly significant about the decision to use a green dot, compared for example, to using a yellow dot. The idea of using this symbol comes from a University of Kentucky program created by Dorothy Edwards. It uses a disease metaphor to illustrate how acceptance of interpersonal violence "spreads".
Visualize for a moment an image of small red–dots spreading across a computer generated map of the United States‚ symbolizing the spread of some terrible epidemic. Every red dot represents an individual case. With disturbing speed‚ the three or four single dots multiply and spread until the whole map emits a red glow comprised of a zillion tiny, red dots.
Now imagine for a moment a map of UTC. Each red dot on this map represents an act of violence against women (physical assault‚ sexual assault or stalking) – 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 a “blame the victim” statement – a red dot is an individual choice to do nothing in the face of a high risk situation.
Violence against women at UTC (or in society)is not a huge‚ solid mass like a tumor that can simply be removed with one swift action or enacting one policy. Rather‚ it is the accumulation of individual decisions‚ moments‚ values‚ and actions made by the students‚ staff‚ faculty and administration of our university. Now imagine adding a green dot in the middle of all those red dots on our UTC map. Imagine that a green dot is any behavior‚ choice‚ word‚ or attitude that promotes safety for women and communicates intolerance for violence. A green dot is pulling a friend out of a high risk situation. A green dot is responding to a victim blaming statement with words of support. A green dot is volunteering at the Transformation Project. A green dot is attending an awareness event. A green dot is inviting a speaker to come talk to your group about preventing interpersonal violence and abuse. A green dot is simply your individual choice at any given moment to make our campus safer.
How many green dots will it take to get rid of violence against women?
How many green dots will it take to begin reducing violence against women on our campus? How many of us need to add 2 or 3 or 7 or 50 dots to our map to begin to make a difference and begin to outshine and displace those red dots? We cannot know the exact number‚ but we do know that inaction will ensure that the red dots “win”. If most of us choose to close our eyes to this issue -- if we choose apathy and indifference – then the red dots stand! If we do not begin replacing moments of violence and victim blaming with moments of support and safety‚ then we will surely continue to have unacceptable limits of interpersonal violence on campus and in our society. That is not OK. That must not be OK with any of us.
What can I do?
- Believe that violence against women is unacceptable and SAY it OUTLOUD!
- Volunteer at the Transformation Project or at the Women’s Center.
- Treat women with respect.
- Speak up when you hear victim blaming statements.
- Talk to your male friends about confronting men’s violence against women.
- Encourage your female friends to trust their instincts.Be a knowledgeable resource for victims.
- Ask the Transformation Project staff to come do a training for your student group.
- Stop laughing at sexist jokes and comments.Look out for friends at parties and bars.
- Use campus resources.
- Educate yourself and your friends.
- Empower victims to tell their stories.
- Attend an awareness event.
Send us your own experiences or observations of Green Dot moment!
This project was supported in part by Grant No. 2002-X1972-TN-WA and 2005-WA-AX-0001 awarded by the Violence Against Women Office, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the Department of Justice.