Green Dot calls for action against violence
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and a new program is beginning that is aimed at helping communities go from awareness to action.
The prevention program, called Green Dot Alaska, is based on helping individuals learn how to safely intervene to prevent violence.
The Association of Village Council Presidents, Bethel Public Health Nursing and other Elluatmun partners: LKSD, ALSC, TWC, TAAV, SOTP, BPD, YKHC-BH, ONC and OCS (with grant support from State of Alaska Rural Community Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Pilot Project) along with support from the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, is launching the program.
“A green dot is any behavior, choice, word or attitude that promotes safety for everyone and communicates intolerance of violence,” said Dorothy Edwards, founder of the Green Dot program, who helped train many people from the Elluatmun partner group in Bethel. “You put a green dot on the map every time you help pull a friend out of a high risk situation, have a conversation with a friend or community member about healthy dating, or make some choice to make your community safer.”
In the Y-K Delta there were 1,209 incidences of violence last year, according to the state Alaska Victimization Survey conducted by the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the University of Alaska Anchorage, said Eileen Arnold, Tundra Women’s Coalition and Elluatmun partner.
This month Bethel joins other communities around the state to hold a variety of events to show the Y-K can have that same number, or more actions where people do something to prevent violence.
“We want to help our community and our region go from awareness to action by putting green dots on the map instead of incidences of violence,” said Cheryl Offt.
Some of the activities that will occur as part of the Bethel Green Dot launch include mass text messages with Green Dot tips to GCI customers, local voices offering Green Dot tips on the radio, information in grocery bags, opportunity to share what Green Dot could be at Alaska Commercial, and other information cards at local businesses. Attendees will also see Green Dot information at Camaii, Choose Respect Walk, Tribal Gathering, Foster Parent Training and the Tribal Justice Conference.
“Over the past year while we have been learning about the Green Dot strategies, we have become more and more empowered about how we can all make a difference in reducing violence and creating safer communities. We are very excited about sharing this program with our community and our region,” said Zienna Blackwell, nurse manager at Bethel Public Health Nursing,
“We also plan on having all of the communities where Green Dot Alaska is being implemented come together in Anchorage on May 5 to report how we have done and to hold ourselves accountable,” Edwards said.
Green Dot is one of the strategies being used as part of the State’s initiative aimed at preventing intimate partner violence and sexual assault throughout Alaska. Bethel was selected as one of the Alaskan communities to pilot the project.