North Central College is one of two schools in the state of Illinois participating in the Green Dot initiative.
“The green dot is a social movement where we train students, it’s a one day training where we talk about different ways they can intervene and step in and basically look out for their friends. It’s a social movement so its not part of a club or anything, there’s no office, its just what we believe and how to embody that,” said the college’s Violence Education and Prevention Coordinator, Cynthia Washburn.
With April being sexual assault awareness month the college invited green dot certified speaker, Karli Johnson, to open up the conversation on a typically taboo topic.
“When we hear of sexual assault or violence we think of a physical act or how many times do you hear ‘don’t go walking alone at night’ if you’re a woman that’s what we think of first, victims are females and perpetrators are these creepy old men when 80% of the time it’s an acquaintance. So that’s one of the biggest myths we break and talk about how anyone can be a victim and anyone can be a perpetrator,” said Johnson.
A sexual assault victim herself, Johnson uses pop culture references in addition to her own story to get on the students level and put a face to the statistic.
“The conversation completely shifts, because when you put a face to the situation and a victim behind a story, that’s where you get the compassion and empathy that comes out,” said Johnson.
To drive home the facts, the college set up flags representing the student population if the statics held true here, with red representing females assaulted and black representing the males.
Through the display, the movement and interaction, Johnson hopes to see the risk of sexual assault eliminated from campuses.
“If we are going to stop this from happening we need to educate on the communication before the sexual act. The other half of it if I have one student who walks away who is a victim and know that it isn’t their fault and know the resources out there for them, then that’s my goal,” said Johnson.
To “live it” yourself, check out livethegreendot.com.
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