Fond du Lac Area Women’s Fund offers free “Green Dot Bystander Intervention” training
FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - A national training program called “Green Dot” aims to equip people with ways to prevent various forms of abuse.
Fond Du Lac is the only area in Wisconsin with the program, and more than 700 people in the area have been trained since 2019.
“To be able to engage people in learning how to respond to power-based violence situations when they were out and about in their everyday lives,” said Executive Director Maria Turner
Power-based violence can involve physical, sexual, or domestic violence as well as stalking, child abuse, and harassment among other forms.
The program focuses on providing people with ways to intervene and potentially prevent violent acts from happening.
“Research suggests that as many one in four or one in five women will experience attempted or completed sexual assault in her lifetime, one in ten reports of rape are made by men, one in three relationships have some aspect of abuse in them, one in four women or one in 13 men will experience stalking,” said Erin Flood, a Fond du Lac area Green Dot trainer during Wednesday’s presentation.
Those numbers are based on national statistics, but Flood stated Fond du Lac’s local numbers do reflect the national numbers.
“What Green Dot really teaches us is that these issues are happening all around us, everyday in much less noticeable ways,” said Turner.
The program visualizes these instances by using red dots on a map, adding in green dots to represent a time when someone did something about it.
“The more times we jump in and say this is not tolerated, the more we’re showing the culture of violence is not tolerated in our community,” said Flood.
Participants are taught three different approaches - direct, delegate, or distract.
Direct is when a person confronts people involved in the potentially violent situation head on. Delegating is when a person seeks out someone who may be more qualified to intervene. Distract is when people interrupt what could be a potentially violent situation in a way that changes the subject, causing a break or change in a volatile moment.
Participants are then given hypothetical scenarios and discuss how each approach could be used.
“You can distract from the situation, or you can delegate and find someone else that may be more equipped or qualified to handle that scenario. And that is doing something,” said Turner.
That is the ultimate message, that even a small act can start to change the culture of violence in a community.
“We can’t all do everything ourselves, but we can each take one little step to make a difference,” said Turner.
The pandemic does complicate that mission.
“Of course with the safer at home orders and people spending more time in their homes, children not going to schools or activities where there would be mandated reporters that might notice something,” said Turner. “This is a bigger issue for us to worry about.”
She suggests looking out for any concerning changes in behavior, and just checking in with people.
“Just simply ask ‘Hey, is everything going on okay with you right now?’ You’d be surprised on how that simple conversation can open up into something that may require you to have deeper conversations with people,” said Turner.
Turner says they plan to keep hosting the free community trainings about once a month, but hope to be able to host them in person again sometime in 2021.
She adds that they are also willing to do training specifically for businesses, churches, and other organizations.
To keep up with future training sessions follow the Fond du Lac Area Women’s Fund Facebook page.
Or, to request a special group training, you can contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 920-322-8778.
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