Green Dot equals do something

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- In December 2015, I was notified that I was nominated to be part of a new program related to sexual assault prevention training - Green Dot. Initially, I had no idea what Green Dot was all about. All I knew was that it concerned sexual assault.

It wasn't until I went through the training that I realized the full potential of Green Dot.

The whole premise of Green Dot is acts performed to counter acts of interpersonal violence; the focus is not on victims or perpetrators. For our training, interpersonal violence constituted dating and domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault.

Throughout my training, I don't recall any of my instructors using the words victim or perpetrator while they were showing us how to present the information.

There were parts of the training where we formed in groups and rotated around the room, writing out actions that would be typical of green dots. Additionally, there was one particularly enjoyable (and borderline dangerous) segment of the training where we took part in a relay race (inside a classroom), and had to think and be light on our feet. There were numerous instances where people collided into one another or tables, all while laughing and enjoying the training.

Being a green dot means that you do something, whether it be big or small, to stop an act of interpersonal violence.

Green dot has a slogan - No one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something.

That something can be as simple as making a phone call to check on someone who is in a new relationship or liking a post on Facebook that demonstrates zero tolerance for interpersonal violence.

What this training meant to me was that we are making progress toward change. Change from reiterating the roles of victim and perpetrator. Change toward becoming better wingmen for those around us.

Being a Green Dot means a lot to me. I know that I can't help everybody, but I can try to help someone.

I want interpersonal violence to stop because I have known too many people who have been affected by it. I have seen lives ripped apart and innocence taken due to this issue.

It needs to stop because it is also spreading fear in our culture. Fear of talking to someone about what happened, fear of helping someone for various reasons. Fear of the unknown.

I believe it is that fear of the unknown that stops someone, including myself, from intervening in a situation where they are feeling conflicted about taking action. This fear could be relevant to our personal lives, professional lives, or fear of what will happen to us physically or emotionally if we intervene.

Green Dot provides those trained with the tools necessary to jump in, take action and make a difference in their community. I feel that I am properly equipped to provide assistance whenever needed because of my training. Even though I have barriers that might prevent me from acting, Green Dot showed me how I can get around those barriers and help someone.

I know that I cannot stop every incident, but I can try; especially with the help of everyone who will be receiving Green Dot training.

Armed with this knowledge, we can all play a part in doing something to help out our fellow wingmen. I was not alone in this training. There were at least 30 other members taking part in this training. Together, and with combined numbers, we can all do something to prevent acts of violence.

With everyone taking small actions to stop interpersonal violence, gradually our culture will begin to change.

As I reflect upon my training, I am reminded again of the slogan: No one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something.