‘Green Dot’ training in Grass Valley turns bystanders into actors against violence | TheUnion.com

‘Green Dot’ training in Grass Valley turns bystanders into actors against violence

It's an all-too-typical scenario.

A bullying incident turns tragic. A domestic abuse situation escalates.

A shocked community takes a step back and wonders, why didn't we see this coming? How could we have prevented this? Why didn't I say something, do something?

Part of the problem, advocates for nonviolence say, is not that people don't want to help. It's that they don't know how.

Community Beyond Violence wants to change that, offering a free Green Dot training that aims to teach participants how to recognize the signs of violence and offers options and ideas for actions to take.

"One of the reasons we fell in love with Green Dot is that it's the perfect prevention tool," said Stephanie Fischer, outreach director for Community Beyond Violence.

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Fischer said that sometimes people think all they can do is directly intervene, and then feel paralyzed if they don't feel comfortable taking action.

"Sometimes people are shy — sometimes they feel unsafe," she said. "This gives people the tools to be an active bystander and prevent violence at any sort of comfort level."

Green dots are "any behavior, choice, word, or attitude that promotes safety for everyone and communicates utter intolerance for any type of abuse," according to a release from Community Beyond Violence. Those actions can be as varied as pulling a friend out of a high-risk situation, responding to a victim-blaming statement with words of support, striking up a conversation about how much this issue matters to you, writing an editorial or giving a talk on violence prevention.

"There are different options available," Fischer said. "Together we can change the social norms that violent behavior is OK."

Community Beyond Violence has been conducting Green Dot training for the last five years, starting with a pilot program at Nevada Union High School.

Now, Fischer said, Community Beyond Violence wants to move Green Dot to a community-based program.

"We want people from all different walks of life to be trained in this program," she said. "We really believe in the content and we want the community to take ownership."

Over the next year, Fischer said, Community Beyond Violence will be raising the funds needed — in the $15-20,000 range — to bring Green Dot trainers to Nevada County next summer, to provide facilitator training to community leaders. Then they, in turn, can provide the bystander training to the people they influence or interact with in their lives.

"Violence in our society is a norm at this point," Fischer said."People are calling for change, they are calling for action. This is a real way to make change happen, that everyday people can play a role in making real change in our society."

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

Know & Go

What: Green Dot Community Training

When: 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Community Beyond Violence, 960 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley

Cost: Free. Bring a lunch and snacks are provided

For info: All participants must call to register. Call Nancy Z at 530-272-2046, ext. 27 or 530-263-6590