Kyle Darbonne

Point of View: What’s your Green Dot?

Interpersonal violence might be a new term for you.

Have you been wondering how to make a difference in our world today? With everything else going on, do I even have the energy to help? I’m here to share how Green Dot can make a difference in a real and tangible way.

Before we talk about the solution that Green Dot brings, let’s talk about the problem. Interpersonal violence might be a new term for you, but it just means all types of power-based violence like domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault, to name a few. You may have heard the alarming statistics here in Alaska that illustrate how historical trauma can lead to present-day violence — statistics like, “Six out of 10 Alaskan women have experienced violence like this in their lives” (Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Alaska Victimization Survey 2010-2015). In this divided world, I hope we can all agree on this: Alaskans can do better to stand up and protect each other.

I get it: We hear statistics like these and can feel like our actions are not going to change anything. The great news is that you absolutely can help reduce interpersonal violence and you already know how. You don’t even have to go out of your way to change jobs, donate money or even volunteer your time.

A green dot is when you witness something happening that sparks a gut reaction that something isn’t right, and you make the choice to do something. The best part is the “something” you do can be anything you’re comfortable with. Green Dots are the small choices to break up an awkward situation or prevent a situation from getting worse. Maybe you are fine with stepping up and directly saying something if you saw someone in line at Safeway yelling at their cashier. Nice Green Dot, reader. You could also let management know that it seems like the situation is out of hand and they might want to check in on their cashier. Boom, that’s a Green Dot. Maybe you’d “accidentally” trip and fall right in front of them and ask for some help up in order to break the tension. Look at you Green Dotting all over the place. I’m already proud of you.

The point is, if everyone steps up to do something in the moment, we can make Homer a safer place to live. All it takes is everyone looking out for each other — even your perceived opponent on Homer Communication. Everyone.

I hope you’re talking at your paper/screen saying, “OK, Kyle, but how can I get involved?” I’m so glad you asked. April is awareness month for both child abuse and sexual assault, so our prevention team thought it would be the perfect time to do a community-wide Green Dot Relaunch. There are events every Wednesday evening where you can come to learn more about this nationwide movement. You can even attend a full training on April 28 at Land’s End with free food. If you would like to attend, please reach out via my contact info below.

With so much going on that is out of our control, it feels great to do something small that makes Homer a safe and resilient community. So, what’s your Green Dot?

Kyle Darbonne is the prevention coordinator at South Peninsula Haven House. He also works with the school district as a migrant education specialist and is an active member of the Resilience Coalition. Please reach out to him at kyle@havenhousealaska.org.

MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships) is a local health improvement coalition with the vision of a proactive, resilient and innovative community.

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