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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!

From the Director – Community-Based Advocacy

If you’ve been following our newsletters from the start, you will remember the survivor who said that “going into Grants Pass for help might as well have been the moon.” Fourteen years and over 6000 survivors later, it’s still true. Community-based advocacy services save lives in rural areas.
Once upon a time, services in Josephine and Jackson counties were limited to a hotline housed in Jackson County. Then in 1974 Josephine County started their own hotline; both programs now have shelters, but there were either no supportive services or they were very limited in the Illinois Valley. It was because of this void that the Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance opened its doors and has managed to keep those doors open—with a lot of help from our friends and supporters.
In order to raise awareness of our services and the need for them, the staff and board of the Alliance are organizing a walk—from our advocacy center to Grants Pass. It’s 30 miles and includes Hays Hill that locals joke only runs one way—from Cave Junction to Grants Pass. It’s a joke, but it’s not funny.
So, we’re calling it The Walk. The t-shirts will show a photo of a woman walking down the highway with a lot of road behind her and still more to go in front of her. The t-shirts will say, “I walk The Walk so she never has to.” We’re keeping the walk small this year, mostly staff and board members. We’re keeping it small because none of us have ever walked a walk like this, so we want to know what we’re dealing with before we open it up to more people we are responsible for keeping safe. The date for The Walk is Saturday, October 11th.
If you’d like to help, we need volunteers to staff the two aid stations, shop for water and food, drive trucks with the two port-a-potties, and a car or van to pick up weary walkers. Another way you can help is to sponsor one of the walkers. We have a $2,400 match for every dollar we raise, so this could be a significant fundraiser.
When we have more details on the end spot and approximate time we’ll let you know. Maybe you’d like to be there to cheer us on?

Volunteer Spotlight – Betsy Joiner

Betsy Joiner moved to the Illinois Valley from Santa Rosa California in 2002. She has always recognized how devastating domestic violence is and has always firmly believed that working to end domestic violence was an important and worthwhile cause. In 2011, she was at the DMV in Cave Junction and saw a sign in the window of the Safe House Alliance advertising See’s Candy. She came in to buy some chocolate and asked if we needed volunteers. Although she had never volunteered before, she felt that she wanted to get involved in something and volunteering seemed like a good way to contribute to a cause that she felt passionately about. And so it began.
She came to us saying that she would do anything we needed her to do and that she just wanted to help in any way she could. And boy, did she ever! Over the years she has attended trainings and helped out in a variety of ways, often on the spur of the moment. However, her most remarkable contribution involves taking on the task of collecting auction items for our Soup for the Souls event. This is a HUGE job which requires dozens of phone calls and letters, driving hundreds of miles, and talking to dozens of people. She dedicates at least two months a year to this project and does an absolutely amazing job. She likes that soliciting donations gives her the opportunity to connect with other people in the community who care about ending domestic violence. We have raised nearly $3500 as a result of the donations that Betsy has arranged.
She says that her favorite thing about volunteering at the Safe House Alliance is that it gives her an opportunity to make a difference and connect with a cause she believes in. She also likes that her volunteer experience gives her an opportunity to learn and grow. We always look forward to working with Betsy. She is a kind, smart, organized, dedicated, and thoughtful person who cares passionately about the work we do. We do this work better because of Betsy.

One Survivor’s Story

I had been hesitant for four years to tell anyone I was in an abusive relationship. He verbally, mentally, emotionally and financially abused me. The moment he threatened to take my kid away from me was the moment I knew I had to take action. I never knew there were services in town that helped with situations like mine. I had felt trapped and when I had heard about it through a friend who had used the Alliance before, I decided to go down there to see what they could do for me.
The Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance helped me get back on my feet to being me again. They were there to just listen, helped refer me to places to get custody and make sure my child was safe with me. They helped me create a safety plan so that my child and I would have a way to get out if we needed to. The advocate helped me learn about resources for financial support like TANF, food stamps and local places who help with different kinds of assistance I may need.
When you have no one to turn to and people are judging you, it makes it very hard to go somewhere and ask for help. If the Alliance had not been local I would not have gotten the help I needed. I would have never gone to Grants Pass for help.

It’s Not Just a Woman’s Issue

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