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Green Dot training aims to decrease interpersonal violence

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- A new interpersonal violence prevention program has arrived to Kadena.

The program, Green Dot, focuses on preventing acts of interpersonal violence, such as dating and domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault.

"Green Dot represents the first time the Air Force has taken a grass roots approach to interpersonal violence prevention," said Master Sgt. Gerald Johnson, 18th Component Maintenance Squadron command support staff and programs flight chief, and Green Dot program coordinator. "This program's implementation marks a turning point in the way we address sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking behavior in our Air Force communities."

Imagine a map of Kadena. One red dot on the map symbolizes one act of violence. One red dot is striking someone. One red dot is sexually assaulting someone. One red dot is showing up at someone's work place or home unwanted.

Imagine that these red dots then begin to spread across the map. As these red dots pop up on the map, imagine green dots taking their place.

Green dots are acts of prevention done to counteract the violence. One green dot could be as simple as calling a friend who is in a new relationship to check on them, calling the police when you see something wrong or personally intervening in a situation.

Green Dot training will soon be taking place at Kadena. This training will focus on group interaction and activities, rather than the traditional lecture and listen methods. In addition to being unique, it will be interactive.

"This training is not about checking the box on an annual training requirement," said Melissa Emmal, Green Dot etc. director of community engagement. "This training is about connecting Airmen with realistic tools to intervene where they see something that crosses their line. This training also acknowledges that intervening when we see something that makes us uncomfortable is easier said than done. We spend most of our time coming up with practical tools for intervening."

The target of Green Dot is acts of interpersonal violence, not exclusive to sexual assault victims and perpetrators.

This expanded way of thinking calls upon all Airmen to take action in preventing interpersonal violence.

"Instead of following the old formula of painting men as perpetrators and women as victims, Green Dot is empowering all Airmen to take a stand against interpersonal violence and proactively prevent its occurrence through positive culture change," said Johnson.  

Although this change will not happen overnight, with the right amount of people taking action, it can happen soon.

"We can't stay in reactive mode, we have to begin to shape our installations and communities to be inhospitable to interpersonal violence in the first place," said Emmal. "We ask people to consider simple things they can do on a daily basis to communicate two important norms: interpersonal violence isn't tolerated here and everyone is expected to do their part to keep each other safe."