It is happening again. My phone was relatively quiet this summer but now as the semester starts my phone has become a megaphone shouting that another person’s human rights have been violated. The cheerful chime of a new text message is a strange counter point to the message received “Timely Warnings: A Forcible Sex Offense-“.
Penn State is not alone in this devastation. US universities are currently experience a what researchers conclude that ‘forcible sexual assaults and rape have reached epidemic levels among college women’ and freshman women are among the most vulnerable. It is tragic that for all the brain power we have on campus, we have not found a way to prevent sexual assault.
In January 2016 Penn State launched a bystander intervention initiative that I think has a real chance. I am feeling optimistic that the Stand for State initiative can make a difference and reduce sexual assault and prevent other types of brutality on campus. This program teaches people how to step in when they see something happening or someone that needs to be helped.
This week Stand for State calls on each of us to educate ourselves and others to shift our culture so that we are ready to step in when someone is in danger. A green dot is a moment in time when you can direct a person to stop doing something, distract (if you can’t address the issue directly), or delegate (ask someone else to step in when you are not able to) in times of crisis. “Green Dot is built on the premise that in order to measurably reduce harm in a community, a cultural shift is necessary – that each person feels empowered to play a role in creating a safe environment. A critical mass of people will need to engage in new behaviors that will make violence and harm (which are labeled as red dots) less likely in our community. These new behaviors are called green dots. “
Below is a list of individual actions that you can do this week to be a green dot shift in culture. The Faculty/Staff Toolkit provides additional materials to present to a group (class, organization, staff meeting, etc.). The powerpoints are organized by amount of time it takes to present the materials. The video embedded in the materials is a great first green dot.
It is important that you record your green dot with Stand for State.
Last week I direct you to my blog to read a longer piece, but I feel that this problem is pressing and the solution will require that we all do our part.
10 Green Dots Faculty/Staff/Students Can (Mostly) Do In Under 10 Minutes
1) Attend an event that week
- Call to Action: 3-4 pm on Monday, September 12that the Monumental Staircase, HUB
- Check out other events that week: standforstate.psu.edu
2) Go to the Stand for State website and choose a green dot to do
3) Wear a Stand for State, anti-violence, or green shirt that week. Carry around other items with a similar message and let people know you support a safer campus.
4) Share about Action Week at a staff meeting or in a class
5) Have a conversation with a colleague about ways to create a safer campus for all 6) Like/Follow Stand for State on Facebook or Twitter and share and retweet others messages.
7) Share the Stand for State video on your social media channels
8) Encourage a student/mentee/advisee to attend a 3 hr Stand for State workshop on the 18th
9) Request a program for a class session you’ll be away this semester (please do this rather than offering extra credit for students to attend a workshop. There are limited seats in workshops: Stand for State programming: standforstate.psu.edu ii. Center for Women Students programming: http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/womenscenter/
10) Change your signature line for the week and a link to the Stand for State website. Get creative! Possible prompts:
- How will you Stand for State?
- No one can do everything, but we can ALL do something. What’s your green dot?
- “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker”. Helen Keller
- “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or some other time. WE ARE the ones we’ve been waiting for. WE ARE the change we seek”. President Barack Obama
- “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Mohandas Gandhi