What’s your Green Dot?

Green Dot buttons can be seen on backpacks around campus

By Julie Householder | gargoyle@flagler.edu

This year the Betty Griffin House, a nonprofit organization working to end domestic and sexual violence, has partnered with Flagler College to introduce the Green Dot Intervention Program.

This new program aims to reduce violence including, sexual assault, sexual harassment, bullying, intimidation, and stalking.

“It’s a bystander training where we talk about the different safe ways to intervene, either to directly intervene, or delegate and get someone else to help out, or do a big distraction to immediately stop that red dot from happening, that violence from happening,” said Sandi Cipolloni, Green Dot Community coordinator from the Betty Griffin House.

Cipolloni explained the Green Dots are any behaviors, words, or attitudes promoting safety and preventing violence. The bystander training is offered to students and is split into two sessions with interactive discussions and activities.

“The overall goal is we want the campus culture to change that anyone can walk on this campus that is a student or faculty member and that it is very obvious that no form of interpersonal violence will be tolerated and that everyone will stand up and do their part,” said Cipolloni.

The Green Dot program has been introduced to hundreds of colleges and universities around the country. According to the University of Kentucky’s Center for Research on Violence Against Women, schools that received Green Dot training had “a greater than 50 percent reduction in the self-reported frequency of sexual violence perpetration” than schools that have not received the training.  

“This is a serious topic and it does kind of bring up issues that everyone has and if anyone needs to leave the training or step out for a moment they are welcome to,” said Cipolloni. “The work that we do and the comments that are made are strictly confidential. No one needs to speak out or say anything or share anything if they don’t want to.”

Junior Abraham Saul wears a green dot bracelet around his wrist. Saul found the Green Dot training helped him see how he could make a difference.

“The training has showed me that I can do those little things even if it is communicating or sharing the information that Betty Griffin has transferred over to me,” said Saul. “I’m not always so in touch with the things that are happening around my campus because for females it’s obviously something that is more common to them. I know as a male, I should be more vocal about it and be more observant in my surroundings.”

Colleen Turkiewicz, also a junior at Flagler College, is a sexual assault survivor. Turkiewicz said she was excited for the Green Dot Program and felt it would benefit Flagler’s campus environment.

Though after attending the first training sessions held at Flagler College in August, she did not feel like the interactive, game-like components of the sessions were serious enough for the subject matter.  

“The training was a joke, I was like ‘I’m not five, stop treating me like this and give me an actual seminar of how to do this,’ ” said Turkiewicz.  “I understand it is a heavy topic and they are trying to take it from adults and make it cool to us.”

Turkiewicz said that many people were “triggered” by the training and had to leave, but is hopeful for the program’s development.

“I definitely think that it does have a good mission and statement,” said Turkiewicz. “You have to go in with the mindset that this the beginning stages of them actually doing training with college students, they have to figure out and work out the kinks with it because it hasn’t even been a year yet.”

As the program evolves, Cipolloni wants to hand it to the students.

“It’s that momentum that keeps the program going, we need the students to help us with that,” said Cipolloni. “This your program, how can we go forward?”

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