WSW: "Green Dots" Can Signify Stopping Violence

Sep 10, 2017

Stetson Chapel - file photo
Credit Kalamazoo College

Assistant Kalamazoo College Registrar Jessica Sonnenberg-Ward says there are a lot of different data points on sexual assault and relationship violence on campus and all of them show that the numbers are too high.


Money to pay for Green Dot Training at Kalamazoo College came from the State of Michigan’s Campus Sexual Assault Grant program started by the state’s First Lady Sue Snyder. Sonnenberg-Ward says a lot of training on sexual violence prevention focuses on “teaching men not to rape, and women not to get raped.” She says Green Dot encourages others who witness violence or the signs of it to step in, and help stop someone from getting hurt. 

A lot of training regarding sexual violence prevention, "focuses on teaching men not to rape, and teaching women not to get raped."

Red dots are often used to mark places where violence has happened in the community. Sonnenberg-Ward says that could be physical violence or harassing someone. She says a green dot shows where intervention has happened to keep violent activities from happening.

Sonnenberg-Ward says the Green Dot training teaches people to intervene while being aware of limitations such as size and gender, personality traits or cultural barriers. Sonnenberg-Ward says direct intervention is one method - saying something to the person causing harm, or experiencing harm. She says delegating can include checking in with others or calling police or campus security. Sonnenberg-Ward says distracting is also an option, creating a diversion maybe by honking car horn.

The training for Green Dot lasts six hours. Sonnenberg-Ward says thorough training is needed for people to practice intervening while protecting themselves. Four trainings are planned for the next year at Kalamazoo College. Sonnenberg-Ward says the hope is to get 20% of the population – 150 to 200 students at K-College trained.