Violence Prevention Office

The University of Mississippi

Mission

The Violence Prevention Office promotes awareness of the realities of dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The office also provides education and training for students, faculty and staff concerning these topics. The office serves as a confidential advocate to assist victims of these offenses and as a liaison between the University and local resource groups.

LOGO-DOT

What’s with the Green Dot?

The Green Dot strategy is a comprehensive approach to violence prevention that capitalizes on the power of peer and cultural influence across all socioeconomic levels. Informed by social change theory, the model targets all community members as potential bystanders and seeks to engage them, through awareness, education and skills practice, in proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm, as well as reactive interventions in high-risk situations – resulting in the ultimate reduction of violence.

Visualize for a moment that unforgettable image of small red dots spreading across a computer-generated map of the U.S.‚ symbolizing the spread of some terrible epidemic – with each tiny red dot representing an individual case. With disturbing speed‚ the three or four single dots multiply and spread until the whole map emits a red glow composed of a zillion tiny dots.

Now imagine for a moment a map of Ole Miss. Each red dot on this map represents an act of power-based personal violence (partner violence‚ sexual violence or stalking) – or a choice to tolerate‚ justify or perpetuate this violence. A red dot is a rape – a red dot is a hit – a red dot is a threat – a red dot is a statement that justifies or minimizes the violence – a red dot is an individual choice to do nothing in the face of a high-risk situation. Power-based personal violence is not a huge‚ solid mass that can simply be removed with one swift action or policy. Rather‚ it is the accumulation of individual decisions‚ moments‚ values and actions made by the men and women from every corner of our campus – students, faculty, staff and administrators. It’s hard to know exactly how many red dots are on our map at any given moment – but we do know there have been enough red dots to create a culture that sustains far too many victims of violence.

Now imagine adding a green dot in the middle of all those red dots on our map. Imagine that a green dot is any behavior‚ choice‚ word or attitude that promotes safety for all of us and communicates utter intolerance for any form of violence. A green dot is pulling a friend out of a high-risk situation – a green dot is responding to a victim’s blaming statement with words of support – a green dot is posting a message on Facebook – a green dot is coordinating a training for your student org – a green dot is displaying an awareness poster in your office – a green dot is wearing your green dot gear – a green dot is striking up a conversation with a friend about how much this issue matters to you – a green dot is writing a paper or giving a speech on violence prevention. A green dot is simply your individual choice at any given moment to make our community safer.

How many green dots will it take to begin reducing power-based personal violence at Ole Miss? How many of us need to add 2 or 3 or 7 or 50 dots to this map to begin to make a difference and begin to outshine and displace those red dots? We cannot know the exact number‚ but we do know this: If most of us choose inaction – if most of us choose to close our eyes to this issue – if most of us choose apathy and indifference – then the red dots stand! If we do not begin replacing moments of violence and inaction with moments of support and safety‚ then we will surely continue to have our friends, partners, students, colleagues and classmates become victims. That is not OK. That must not be OK with any of us.

The power of Green Dot is simple: Red dots bad. Green dots good. You decide.

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

— Albert Einstein


Myths

Myth: People who commit sexual violence are psychotic, crazed individuals who don’t know any better.

Fact: Sexual violence is most often not the product of psychotic episodes. It is a controlled and premeditated instance to frighten, humiliate or dominate another individual. The people who commit this crime appear just as normal as anyone else. Their actions, however, set them apart.

More myths…

Statistics

Women ages 16-24 experience assault at four times the rate of all women.

(Humphrey, S. and Kahn, A. [2000]. “Fraternities, Athletic Teams and Rape: Importance of Identification with a Risky Group.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

More statistics…