Excuses about a black eye. Constant phone calls or unexpected visits to check up on their whereabouts. Social media stalking. Isolation from family and friends. Unusual behavioral changes such as sleeping over at friends’ homes.
The presenter electronically polled the room of nearly four-dozen resident assistants: How many had in their lives encountered someone who experienced these or other signs of dating violence or sexual assault?
Students' eyes widened as the bar graph projected onto the screen before them grew.
“I was shocked,” said Hannah Dey, a secondary education major and an RA in the freshman dorm Dayton Hall. “I always knew (these things were) prevalent, but now I realize just how common it is with people I’m friends with, that I work with. This is happening to them, and that’s why I’m glad I am receiving this training so I can potentially prevent those situations.”
For the first time, the mandatory RA training session includes a component dedicated to Green Dot, a prominent growing national anti-violence campaign. The initiative raises awareness and increases campus safety by stamping out stalking, domestic abuse, bullying and other types of interpersonal violence. Dey is among the students who organizers are encouraging to sign up for a specialized bystander intervention training developed by Green Dot.
On Jan. 25, UNLV President Len Jessup helped campus leaders launch a recruitment campaign to sign up students for the six-hour Green Dot trainings by symbolically signing and placing the first green dot on one of several red dot displays. The displays will be stationed around campus this week for students to cover with their own paper pledges. UNLV's first training is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC) on campus.
The effort is the third of a four-phase plan to roll out Green Dot campuswide. SRWC's Women’s Center — which is leading the charge — has in the past visited freshman classrooms to teach about consent and ways bystanders can protect all women, men, transgender and non-conforming persons from abusers; trained faculty and staff on intervention techniques, such as signs to keep watch for and how to frame questions; and staffed a free and confidential 24-hour hotline to connect victims and survivors with university and off-campus resources. By partnering with various campus clubs and Greek organizations, officials so far have trained more than 100 UNLV students who are seen among their peers as thought leaders and who will assist with recruitment.
About Green Dot
Green Dot was created by Dorothy Edwards of the University of Kentucky, who spearheaded the use of maps where acts of power-based personal violence are represented by red dots. The spread of those red dots can be stopped by Green Dots: acts of bystanders who intervene to stop or lessen the severity of those red dot acts.
A 2015 federal survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Washington Post found that one in five female college students experience sexual assault while in college. The survey also found that 5 percent of college men experience sexual assault. Other studies have found that college students are more likely to be stalked but less likely to report it, and that bullying — especially online — can extend beyond grade school into the university years.
"The importance of this campaign is to keep all of our community members safe," said lead Green Dot organizer Lisa McAllister. "It is so vital that President Jessup is involved because that shows that the entire campus community is working together to stop violence and that is a central message of Green Dot: Everybody can do something."
In addition to the red dot displays stationed in areas like campus parking garages or at athletic events, activities to encourage training sign-ups include: Collaborations with professors to offer assignments or other anti-violence messages related to bystander intervention and Green Dot-themed dessert in UNLV dining halls.