Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 3, 2013

When the green means no

Green Dot program offers way to reduce sexual assault

Mike James
The Independent

ASHLAND — A sexual assault prevention program developed at the University of Kentucky is taking hold at Ashland Community and Technical College.

College and Pathways social services representatives set up displays Monday and Tuesday in the student lounge to introduce students to the awareness-based Green Dot program.

The program trains students to recognize unacceptable behavior and to stop it, or preferably to keep it from happening in the first place, according to Pathways rape victim services coordinator Diane Rodgers.

The program addresses bullying, dating violence and other unwanted dating behavior. It offers five-hour training sessions in which students learn the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior and how to talk to their friends about such actions, Rodgers said.

Participants are trained to recognize potential problem situations and either intervene directly if it is safe to do so, or find another friend or the police in more difficult situations. The program also offers strategies to ward off harmful situations through distraction. That can be as simple as taking away a drink that has been spiked, Rodgers said.

The program is based on the premise that with awareness and training, anyone can reduce the risk of sexual assault and violence. It can be by calling 911, by giving a drunken friend a ride home or talking to friends about the seriousness of sexual assault.

“Everybody can play a part. We no longer live in a world where we can do nothing. We can’t say it’s none of our business,” she said.

At the secondary-school level, Rodgers is implementing the program at Rowan County High and is in talks with Boyd County High School for possible inclusion there, she said.

“It’s a wonderful thing to get the word out,” said Glenda Layne, a nursing student from Grayson. “There are too many things that happen that no one talks about.”

Education major Leighanna Caudill-Lane said the Green Dot program could offer her some insights she eventually can take to a classroom as a teacher. “I will face kids who have been abused, and I’d better know what to do,” she said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.