The Green Dot strategy is a comprehensive approach to violence prevention that capitalizes on the power of peer and cultural influence across all levels of the socio-ecological model. Informed by social change theory, the model targets all community members as potential bystanders, and seeks to engage them, through awareness, education, and skills-practice, in proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm, as well as reactive interventions in high-risk situations – resulting in the ultimate reduction of violence. Specifically, the program targets influential and respected individuals from across community subgroups. The goal is for these groups to engage in a basic education program that will equip them to integrate moments of prevention within existing relationships and daily activities. By doing so, new norms will be introduced and those within their sphere of influence will be significantly influenced to move from passive agreement that violence is wrong, to active intervention. For more information about the research that supports the philosophy of Green Dot, visit the Green Dot website.
Green Dot is built on the premise that in order to measurably reduce the perpetration of power-based personal violence, a cultural shift is necessary. In order to create a cultural shift, a critical mass of people will need to engage in a new behavior or set of behaviors that will make violence less sustainable within any given community. The “new behavior” is a Green Dot.
Power-based personal violence happens to such a staggering degree that the only workable solution must involve a broad-based, good ole’ fashioned social movement. Each significant stride in human rights has been fueled by and built upon a social movement. Enough individuals simply raising their voices saying, “This is no longer acceptable. Today is the day we reclaim our fundamental right to something better.” One Green Dot at a time, this is our moment in history to reclaim our right to live free of violence and fear of violence.
In isolation, even the most determined single Green Dot can dissolve into silent resignation when faced with a task as daunting as changing our culture. The power of Green Dot is the momentum that can be created and sustained when individuals see themselves in connection with others as a part of something ultimately bigger than the sum of its parts.