Green Dot program combats sexual assault
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 04:04
For the Green Dot organization, sexual assault and violence prevention isn’t just about awareness – it’s about taking action.
WELLWVU: The Students’ Center for Health hosted a presentation about Green Dot – a new approach to violence and sexual assault prevention. The Green Dot program focuses on motivating individuals to take action in situations where others are at risk for violence.
Sam Wilmoth, a WELLWVU intern, said in most instances of sexual assault or violence, witnesses don’t take action.
"Nobody wants to imagine that this is a problem in their community," he said. "But awareness is not enough. We’ve got to start talking about action."
Wilmoth said a "Green Dot" is the moment when a person decides to take action to prevent violence or accidents. This could be making sure someone gets home safely after a night out or educating others about violence. A small action could prevent years of pain, Wilmoth said.
"In reality, you have two choices – to do something or do nothing. If you decide to walk away, it keeps happening," he said. "The solution is the moment in time when you make a decision to do more than passively disapprove."
Wilmoth said he believes widespread action will change attitudes toward violence in the same way the civil rights movement changed attitudes about ethnic equality.
"These are seismic shifts that can happen in a single lifetime; I’m asking if we can do it again," he said.
During the presentation, students were given suggestions on how to take action. Direct methods include things such as intervening in a domestic dispute, while indirect methods include things like selecting a designated driver, Wilmoth said.
"I think the best part about this is that it can be one little action that changes everything," said WELLWVU Health Education Specialist Judy Murnan Zullig.
Even the most timid people can find ways to prevent violence, she said.
"All of us can do at least one thing, even if it’s just speaking up. That’s what makes this so great," she said.
Nnenna Minimah, Sexual Assault Response Team Coordinator with the Rape and Domestic Violence
Information Center, said Green Dot is a good approach to violence prevention.
"It’s different because it’s something that students can do every day," she said.
Many students are overwhelmed by the idea of spreading awareness, and Green Dot gives them an easier choice, she said.
"They can do little Green Dots and get satisfaction from doing something positive," she said.
Another Green Dot presentation will be held April 24 at 7 p.m. in the Shenandoah room of the Mountainlair. For more information, visit www.livethegreendot.com.