Green Dot is a bystander intervention training program backed by research and used by colleges across the country. The Green Dot strategy educates and empowers students, staff and faculty to create a community where violence is not tolerated and everyone plays a part in creating a culture of respect. A Green Dot is any behavior, choice, word or attitude that promotes safety and communicates an intolerance for sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.
Introduced in 2011 at Washington University, the Green Dot program is a proactive way to help promote the safety of all persons on campus.
Student-affiliated groups and organizations may request a Green Dot training that will delve into issues of power-based violence on campus, dynamics of bystander intervention, and proactive ways to step in and support fellow students and acquaintances when situations may become harmful. Green Dot trainings for student groups are highly interactive and are designed to take six hours, scheduled over a weekend day.
Interested in learning more about Green Dot?
Please email the Green Dot program.
Empirical and Theoretical Background
Sexual assault is a major public health problem across American college campuses. Currently, one in five women will experience rape while in college.1 The problem hasn’t improved or regressed over the years – it has stayed about the same. In 2013, Congress enacted the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, which requires primary prevention of sexual violence for all incoming undergraduate students.2
A report from the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention, categorizes bystander intervention as primary prevention programming in the second highest ranking and as “selected programs found to be effective in reducing risk factors for sexual violence or related outcomes using a rigorous evaluation design”.3 The CDC also reported that, “more evidence is needed, but the bystander approach to prevention is already gaining traction in the field.”3 Theoretically, the Green Dot program and other bystander intervention programs draw from the Theory of Planned Behavior and assumes that rape myths, or attitudes, and confidence, or self-efficacy, influence bystander attitudes which in turn influences actual bystander behavior.4
Nationally, the Green Dot program has been evaluated and has some robust results. One evaluation found that students trained in Green Dot had significantly higher rates of self-reported bystander behaviors than students who were just given a Green Dot speech as well as those students who received no intervention.5 A second study found the university that implemented the Green Dot curriculum had lower rates of sexual harassment and stalking than two campuses that did not have Green Dot.2 At the University of New Hampshire, a random sample of undergraduates were evaluated (n=186) and it was found that females and individuals who knew someone sexually assaulted engaged in more bystander behaviors.6 Additionally, it has been found that students with higher rape myth acceptance are less willing to intervene with bystander behaviors. The following groups are at a higher risk for having high rape myth acceptance: men, members of fraternities or sororities, student athletes, and individuals who have never received sexual assault education3,7,8; thus further justifying the targeted groups for Green Dot training at WashU.
- Evaluation of the Green Dot Bystander Intervention to Reduce Interpersonal Violence Among College Students Across Three Campuses
- SEXUAL VIOLENCE PREVENTION THROUGH BYSTANDER EDUCATION: AN EXPERIMENTAL EVALUATION
- The Men ’s Program: Does it impact college men ’ s bystander efficacy and willingness to intervene?
- Measuring Bystander Attitudes and Behavior to Prevent Sexual Violence.
- Evaluation of Green Dot: An Active Bystander Intervention to Reduce Sexual Violence on College Campuses