The Office of Student Affairs is sponsoring a new program in order to curb power-based violence. The program, called Green Dot, focuses on improving bystander intervention.
Alicia Hans-Murphy, the director of the Women’s Center, is the woman who brought Green Dot to West Chester University.
The program received its name for its goal to turn a map of red dots into green ones, and in a unique way: by training the bystanders to move them from passive inaction to active intervention.
“A red dot is a single choice someone makes to use his or her words, choices, actions or behaviors to hurt someone else,” said Hans-Murphy. “One red dot is the moment it takes to hit someone. One red dot is the single choice to have sex with someone without their consent. One red dot is when someone takes four to five minutes to use his or her words to humiliate or threaten or coerce someone. A red dot is what you read in the timely warnings.”
According to Hans-Murphy, “a green dot is a small moment when someone makes the choice to use their words or behaviors to try and stop a red dot from happening.”
“A green dot can be something small, like asking a friend if they are okay in their new relationship,” said Hans-Murphy. “It can be spilling your drink on someone in a situation that makes you uneasy. A green dot can be asking a couple arguing on the street for directions to diffuse the situations or telling a room full of people you heard the police are coming to bust the party.”
One of Green Dot’s goals is to facilitate a culture change on campus –something many West Chester University students have been calling for in the wake of several rapes and sexual assaults.
According to the Student Health Services’ website, there were 53 incidents of sexual misconduct reported in 2013-2014.
Started out at the University of Kentucky, this program has spread to many universities across the nation.[pullquote align=”center”]A green dot is a small moment when someone makes the choice to use their words or behaviors to try and stop a red dot from happening.[/pullquote]
Out of all the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) colleges, the only other school with Green Dot certified instructors is California University of Pennsylvania.
The program empowers both men and women to intervene when they witness a potential problem arising.
“[Green Dot] gives permission for bystanders to intervene in whatever way they feel comfortable,” Hans-Murphy said.
Adam Farence is a fourth-year student majoring in history and French. He can be reached at AF764146@wcupa.edu.