Businesses Join Green Dot Campaign To Fight Violence In Alaska
With high rates of domestic violence and sexual assaults considered an epidemic in Alaska, the Green Dot movement to prevent them from happening in the first place has brought local businesses into the mix.
Green Dot is meant to encourage bystanders who see suspicious or harmful activity, or has a feeling that something's not right, to intervene -- to become "green dots" countering the "red dots" of warning signs leading up to dangerous behavior.
At the core of the concept is a set of "three D's" people can take to head off escalating situations short of a direct confrontation: distracting, delegating or directing someone away from a violent scenario.
"All three D's are effective and its really about what your personality is and assessing the situation about what's safe and what's going to be effective," said Melissa Emmal, the deputy director of Abused Women's Aid In Crisis. "It could be a rape, it could be an act of domestic violence, a kick, words that hurt."
AWAIC has partnered with the Anchorage Police Department, Alaska State Troopers, Standing Together Against Rape, and the Alaska Native Justice Center to be proactive in violence prevention.
"Sometimes (it's) just your presence, if people know if they are being observed," said Emmal. "I've heard people give examples of just pulling out their cell phone and making it pretty clear, 'Hey, I'm recording this.'"
At businesses including Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse on 6th Avenue, employees are getting free training from Green Dot Alaska on how to respond to violence. As part of Humpy's recent pub quiz night, staff introduced Green Dot concepts to patrons.
"Nothing is going to change unless you do something, so if you see something speak up," said Pete Burns, Humpy's general manager. "Having 270 to 280 people that walk out with a little bit more idea of what's going on around them, being aware of social situations and occurrences that take place is definitely going to help things out."
Backers say knowledge is power, especially in a state that ranks amongst the highest in the nation in sexual and domestic assaults.
"This is Anchorage, its a pretty inclusive community where everyone is pretty open to everyone's ideas and beliefs and take care of each other -- we have to on a daily basis," Burns said.
In addition to Humpy's, businesses like Snow City Café and Checker Cab are scheduled to get Green Dot Alaska training to respond to violent situations. For more information on the project and ways you can help, visit Green Dot Alaska's website.
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