Auburn University launches program to reduce acts of sexual violence

Published: October 26, 2015
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As part of Auburn University's efforts to prevent sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence from occurring on campus, the Green Dot Bystander Intervention program will officially launch on campus Thursday, Oct. 29.

Employees who have been trained in the program will be on the Haley Concourse from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., encouraging students, staff and faculty to promise to help prevent acts of interpersonal violence from occurring.

With the national program in place at the University of Kentucky, the campus saw its rates of violence drop by 50 percent over five years. Auburn University Provost Timothy Boosinger supports the program's implementation at Auburn.

Interpersonal violence occurs when one person uses power and control over another through physical, sexual or emotional threats or actions, economic control, isolation or other kinds of coercive behavior. The Green Dot effort at Auburn focuses on three types of interpersonal violence: sexual assault, domestic/dating violence and stalking.

Green Dot mobilizes bystanders to use proactive and reactive behaviors to interrupt and prevent acts of violence, by utilizing the three Ds: Direct, Distract and Delegate. "Direct" is taking direct action to stop the act, such as interrupting a couple's argument. "Distract" is an act to divert one's attention away from the possible violent act. "Delegate" is asking another person to help address the situation, such as notifying the police or a professor.

On a college campus like Auburn's, "Red Dots" represent acts of violence, while "Green Dots" represent the behaviors the campus community can use to counteract or eliminate those violent acts.

National statistics show that:

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will be the victim of domestic/dating violence
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men will be sexually assaulted
  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men will be the victim of stalking

"At Auburn, we believe Green Dot can be an effective method in reducing violent acts and shaping a healthier campus culture, where violence – of any kind – is not tolerated," said Eric Smith, director of Health Promotion and Wellness Services. "If everyone did one simple small thing once a week to show their personal commitment to ending violence, we would truly see a positive change."

The Auburn men's basketball exhibition game against Brevard College at 7 p.m. Friday has been designated a "Green Dot" game. Green Dot supporters will be set up outside the main entrance asking visitors to make a commitment to the We.Auburn campaign, the moniker for the program at Auburn.

For more information or to learn about ways to become involved in Auburn's effort, visit www.auburn.edu/wedotauburn.