The Green Dot program, developed at the University of Kentucky Violence Intervention and Prevention Center, is the only domestic-violence prevention program to focus on the bystander, instead of the survivor or the perpetrator.
Following passage of a resolution by city commission Thursday, Maysville is on its way to becoming the state's first Green Dot City, meaning it offers a safe place for everyone in the community.
"It means we are a safe place to live and work," Melissa Greenwell, director of the Women's Crisis Center in Maysville, said.
The program uses a technique known as bystander intervention in an effort to help prevent sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other kinds of gender violence. Green Dot trains individuals as peers in behaviors that help establish intolerance of violence. The program has been effective in schools, reducing violence in a study conducted by the University of Kentucky researchers.
Led by Ann Coker and Heather Bush in UK’s Center for Research on Violence Against Women, the study is the largest and longest randomized controlled trial of bystander intervention programs focusing on sexual violence prevention in high schools, according to information on the center's website. Published recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the study reveals the implementation of Green Dot in Kentucky high schools decreased not only sexual violence perpetration but related forms of violence including sexual harassment, stalking and dating violence, a story on the website indicates.
Currently, the Green Dot program in Maysville and Mason County has included training for staff and faculty at Maysville Community and Technical College, engagement with local organizations and working with the faith-based community.
According to information from WCC, the program aims to establish two new norms in the community -- violence is not OK and everyone is expected to do their part.
Implementing the program will come in phases with developing a Maysville Green Dot team and the first priority, followed by implementation workshops and training delivered to 10-15 percent of the communities influencers. In Phase 3, a proactive Gren Dot campaign would have residents show support through awareness, displays and social media post. The final phase would sustain the program with key agencies, departments and individuals trained, established criteria met and a plan put in place for continued engagement and evaluation.
"Ultimately, we are looking to engage the whole community in developing people and environments that promote healthy relationships and shift cultural norms away from violence," according to a brochure distributed at the commission meeting.
"When decent people stand up and speak out against violence, it sends a clear message to perpetrators that such acts are not acceptable. Green Dot gives us tools for resistance that anyone can use," Rev. David Massey-Brown of Maysville First Christian Church is quoted as saying in the brochure. "We want Maysville to be a safe community for all her inhabitants and visitors.'
For more information on the Green Dot program, contact Christy Burch at 859-338-4899 or Lori Droege at 859-372-3577.