Tag: Crime

What is a Green Dot?

“Green Dot, etc.” is a five year strategy designed to engage ALL community members in the effort to decrease violence. It uses awareness, education and skill-practice to encourage proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of norms that support violence. The goal is for individuals and groups to engage in a basic education program that will equip them to integrate moments of prevention and intervention within their existing relationships and daily activities. It reinforces the community members that they CAN make a difference. Perhaps more importantly, it engages them actively in norm changing behavior that ultimately will lay the groundwork for a culture within our community that does not tolerate violence. The “Green Dot, etc.” does not require that a group or individual has any understanding of domestic, sexual or dating violence. It does not require a particular perspective or a point of view. It allows us to meet people where they are and engage every member of our community in the work to end violence.
So, what is a green dot? A green dot is an individual action, activity or statement that communicates to someone else that violence is not okay. Often a green dot happens when someone sees something that indicates that violence is possible, is imminent or has already happened. It might be a dangerous situation, something you know is wrong or something that just makes you uncomfortable. A green dot can be as simple as a check in: “Are you okay?” or “Do you need some help?” A green dot can also happen without the presence of violence. You can just tell a friend a cool story of when someone kept someone else safe or put a poster in the window at your workplace or business, or wear a green dot pin. The idea is that small changes add up to cultural change. We all just need to say or do something that lets others know that violence is not okay with us and we are willing to do our part to stop it.
Seems so simple! Unfortunately, sometimes obstacles get in the way of us doing our green dots. We might be shy, worried about what others will say, think it’s none of our business, don’t want to get involved, afraid of retaliation or just don’t know what to do. “Green Dot, etc.” teaches us to be aware of our obstacles and to come up with new and creative ways to initiate a green dot that feels comfortable given those obstacles. It doesn’t matter what you do. It just matters that you do something! Enough green dots and we WILL change the culture that supports violence in our community.
The “Green Dot, etc.” does not ask you to change who you are or what you believe. We have just recently begun implementation of a five year “Green Dot, etc.” strategy locally. We can come to your organization, place of business, agency, community group or church and give a green dot presentation. It is free and we can customize the presentation to the types of issues your particular group sees or hears about. If you would like us to give a presentation to your group, give Marcy a call at 541-592-5332. We can do a very brief presentation (5-15 minutes) to a large group and/or or a more extended and interactive presentation to those who are interested in the brief overview. The presentation provides a framework to engage the broader community and creates a common language. We are very excited about the program and we believe that this strategy could make a REAL difference in our community. Follow us on twitter @ivgreendot.
P.S. Calling and asking about a presentation is a green dot!

Training Opportunity

On March 31, 2014, the Alliance will be offering a three hour training for volunteers, community partners and anyone interested in improving their response to victims of abuse. The topics to be covered will be:

  • The Batterer as Parent – including how a batterer interacts with his children and the other parent as a victim.
  • Domestic Violence and Children- what happens to a child when exposed to domestic violence?
  • Sexual Assault- an overview including statistics, effect on the victim, drug facilitated rape.
  • Drugs, Alcohol and Domestic Violence– does drinking cause violence? How victims cope and how it increases lethality.

The training will begin at 9:00am and end at 12:00pm and refreshments will be served. All attendees will receive a certificate of completion.

This training includes part of the basic components for the required Department of Human Services employees’ training.

Challenge for Community Compassion

While working on the computer, doing research for an article, I have also been reading some of the Face Book sites, where people can talk about the crime that has been happening in our area.  I see a lot of people complaining, wanting to run people out of town, put them in jail, or worse, they would like to see something bad happen to them. Some of the posters would like to be the ones doing the bad things to people.  It shocks me that people would intentionally place “booby traps” to intentionally hurt or kill someone over a little stolen gas.  I wonder where priorities lie. As I read these comments, I wonder that not one of them has ever had hard times? No one  has ever had a family member, who due to circumstances beyond their control, has been in a bad situation. When I read about someone stealing gas, or stealing cars or breaking into someone’s garage and taking tools, I wonder where that person learned to do those things.  What has happened in that person’s life that they did not learn to respect other people’s property? What lesson did they learn as a child that they decided that the drug life is the only life they could have? What happened to that child, that coping with drugs and alcohol was the only thing that they could find for comfort, or the only way they could cope?

Many of us have not known what it’s like to have brothers and uncles and neighbors and grandfathers molesting us, what it’s like to be belittled and beat every day when we are six, seven years old. Many of us don’t know how it feels to not have anyone say they love you; not have anyone hold you when you cry; not have anyone there for you when you are terrified, or when you are bullied, or when you need someone to talk to. Some of us don’t know what it feels like to think you are the only one who hates yourself and wants to be dead, thinking that is the only way out. Many of us don’t  know what it feels like to go to someone we look up to after being sexually assaulted, thinking they will help,  only to be told it’s our fault; go away and never talk about it again, even if we’re only  five years old. Many of us don’t know what it feels like to be raised in a home where the only thing we learn is violence, and the only way we cope is alcohol and drugs, or by hanging around anyone who accepts us, or hurting ourselves.

Thank goodness that many of us don’t know these things. Thank goodness that there are some who know what it feels like to have your existence validated, have someone there to tell you that you are special just because you are a person. Thank goodness. What we know is that there are as many who don’t know what that is like than there are that do know what that is like.

What does this say about humanity? Does it say that because I have been fortunate in my life I will not accept anyone who is less fortunate? Or does it tell us to open our hearts and our minds and begin to find an answer, begin to find a solution, and begin to understand?

What happens to a child when they experience these violations of trust is that their brain changes. It changes the way they process information. Actions and feeling become disconnected, so, as an adult, they cannot connect their actions to the consequences and feelings of other people.  A child is more damaged by witnessing domestic violence than they are by experiencing physical abuse.  When a child as young as a newborn is living in a house where there is domestic violence; even yelling and screaming and tension all the time, they have a greater chance of growing up not able to have compassion for other people or for themselves.

Most of the men in the prison system grew up in a home where there is domestic violence. Most of the women in the prison system are there because their crimes are related to domestic violence. 79% of children who are sentenced to life in prison without parole were raised in a violent environment. 77% of girls in prison without parole were victims of sexual abuse. Violence is a learned behavior, and when it is demonstrated by adults in a home environment as how to resolve problems, children internalize this and, without intervention, are more likely to repeat it.

The feeling of safety in our communities also determines whether someone will grow up and become a criminal themselves. If a child is living with domestic violence and, in addition to feeling unsafe at home, the community also feels like it is not a safe place to be, such as the feeling that is in our community from the recent deaths of the young men here, the chances that they will grow up to become criminals themselves increases dramatically. Five out of eight children in prison viewed their neighborhoods as an unsafe place to be as well as their homes.  More than two thirds of those witnessed drug sales in their community.

So, we have a challenge in our community. We see the violence, we see the drug use, and we complain about it and wish the police would do something about it, or we decide to become vigilantes and do something ourselves. More violence added to the violence already here. Maybe that is not the answer. Maybe the answer is giving those who are experiencing violence someplace where they can talk about it and be told that it is not their fault. Maybe the answer is to create a place of safety in our community instead of a vigilante force. Maybe if we can’t stop what is happening in our community right now, we can prevent it from happening to the next generation. Our children don’t have to carry violence to the next generation if they have enough support in their lives that they don’t internalize the violence and the drugs. If there are enough people to stand up and say “I care about you and I won’t let you fall through the cracks,” we may be able to raise a community of children who grow up and become  caring, responsible citizens.

So this is the challenge; lets change the way we look at those who are committing the crimes.

I read a long time ago about a village that treated its criminals a way that worked. They caught the criminal and brought him to the center of town. Then the entire town came and surrounded him. He thought he was done for. But then an amazing thing happened. Everyone in the town came up to him and told him how much they loved him and that they wanted him to do the right thing. They told him they would help him  in any way they could. They told him he was a valuable member of their community. The criminal was so touched at the love that he wanted to change. He felt supported. He felt that someone cared. That is our challenge. Who is up for it?

Why Intimate Partner Violence Effects Everyone

You may ask yourself what your neighbor beating his wife has to do with you. What business of yours is it when you see someone on the street yell, curse and belittle their partner and their children?  We often believe that it is their business, we shouldn’t get involved, and they will work it out. We may believe that what someone else is doing in their home is none of our concern because it doesn’t affect us in any way. Besides, there is nothing we can do about it anyway. The truth is that is does affect us and there are many things we can to end intimate partner violence (IPV). Following are some statistics that you may find interesting, and you may understand why this is important to you.

Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.
On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. The same year, 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. Intimate partner homicides accounted for 30% of the murders of women and 5% percent of the murders of men.
The health-related costs of intimate partner violence exceed $5.8 billion each year. Of that amount, nearly $4.1 billion are for direct medical and mental health care services, and nearly $1.8 billion are for the indirect costs of lost productivity or wages. Thirty-seven percent of women who sought treatment in emergency rooms for violence-related injuries in 1994 were injured by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.
Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.

Forty percent of girls age 14 to 17 reports knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.

One in five teens in a serious relationship reports having been hit, slapped, or pushed by a partner. 14% of teens report their boyfriend or girlfriend threatened to harm them or themselves to avoid a breakup. Many studies indicate that as a dating relationship becomes more serious, the potential for, and nature of violent behavior also escalates.

Date rape accounts for almost 70% of sexual assaults reported by adolescent and college age women; 38% of those women are between 14 and 17 years old.
In a national survey of American families, 50% of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children.
Do you have children or grandchildren?

Annually, 18 people die in Oregon as a result of domestic violence. These victims include men, women, and children.

At least 1 in 10 Oregon women between the ages of 20-55 (more than 85,000 women) have been physically or sexually assaulted by a current or former intimate partner in the preceding five years. Children witnessed 33% of those assaults.

1 in 6 Oregon women has been the victim of rape. More than 50% of rape victims are under 17 years old. (308,397)

The number of people who are affected by violence against women is not only those directly involved; we are all affected by violence, and we can all be part of the solution. If you or someone you know is a victim and you want to help them, please come talk to an advocate. If you would like to be involved in some other way, there are many volunteer opportunities available. Please stop by our offices in the Coalition building at 535 East River Street, Cave Junction, Oregon, or give us a call at 541-592-2515. When all of us become advocates, then we may see an end to the violence.
For a resource list and more information, go to www.dvrc-or.org.