Green Dot program teaches violence prevention

Central Pasco Huddle hosted a community discussion and learning session at the Land O’ Lakes Branch Library on violence prevention.

The huddle is a locally organized group of the Central Gulf Coast chapter of the Women’s March Florida.

Its members, who come from Wesley Chapel, Land O’ Lakes, and Lutz, meet monthly in Land O’ Lakes, said huddle member Charity Henesy-Brooks.

The goal is to find activities “to make Pasco better for people,” she said. “We’re going to do more events like this for Pasco’s women and children.”

Green Dot coordinator for Sunrise of Pasco County, Aubrey Hall, led discussion on violence prevention at Land O’ Lakes Branch Library. The workshop was sponsored by the Central Pasco Huddle of the Women’s March Florida. (Kathy Steele)

Aubrey Hall, Green Dot coordinator with Sunrise of Pasco County Inc., led the recent workshop – “Embrace Your Voice.”

Combatting violence in all its forms “is daunting,” she said. “How do we change something that is so ingrained?”

Cultural change isn’t something that happens quickly, she added.

She said, though, that she’s encouraged by the #metoo movement, which is prompting people – mostly women – to come forward to tell their stories.

Green Dot is a violence prevention program that seeks to enlist the help of bystanders — who witness violence in everyday situations.

Green Dot provides educational awareness, training and actions that can reduce sexual assault, dating/domestic violence and stalking.

Green Dot serves more than 300 colleges and universities across the country.

Sunrise at Pasco works with students at Saint Leo University.

“To stop violence, we first have to recognize what it is,” Hall said.

Examples of violence include physical, sexual, verbal, economic and psychological assaults where one person has real or perceived power over another person.

People often overlook economic issues, Hall said. But, she noted: “Economic abuse is present in 98 percent of domestic violence abuses.”

She also explained that stalking can go beyond physically shadowing another person.

“You can be stalked by someone you never see now because of social media,” Hall said. “It’s so normal to like and follow.”

Hall led the workshop participants through a series of activities to identify early, immediate and after signs of sexual assault, stalking and dating/domestic violence.

She also addressed bullying.

Participants watched videos that had no sound to help them learn how to recognize body language cues, in different scenarios, of stalking and domestic violence. The videos show bystanders reacting to each situation.

“Being able to identify behavior, that’s going to be key,” Hall said.

Working in two teams, the workshop participants came up with ways that bystanders could choose to intervene, either directly or indirectly, to stop or calm down volatile situations.

They also discussed the barriers that often prevent bystanders from becoming involved.

Sometimes those barriers are the fear of becoming a target, or of being retaliated against, or of being uncomfortable, or not knowing where to seek help.

The Green Dot program offers the “three Ds” as guidelines to follow.

Those are:

  • Direct action: Asking someone to stop his or her behavior.
  • Delegating action: Calling 911, human resources or the school’s campus police. (The key is “making sure it’s someone who can do something,” Hall said.)
  • Distraction or delay: This can be done by possibly asking a question. “Do anything that allows the tension to break,” Hall said.

The Green Dot program launched at the University of Kentucky in 2006, as a sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking prevention program. It was funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The program was adapted for high schools, and expanded to other colleges. A nonprofit, known as Green Dot, etc Inc., was established, and its headquarters moved from Kentucky to Washington D.C.

In 2017, it also got a new name – Alteristic.

For information, visit SunrisePasco.org/green-dot-rev.

For information on Central Pasco Huddle, email .

Published May 2, 2018

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