Green Dot Kentucky

What's with the green dot?

What's with the green dot?

Something else we found out at the Take Back the Night rally on Tuesday night was that there is a campaign to end power-based personal violence in the state of Kentucky by changing the culture that supports it. The effort is called Green Dot Kentucky. It is based on research (summarized on the project’s web site) about what does — or more often, doesn’t — work to actually turn the tide of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault, and what kinds of social practices in other contexts have been shown to have effects.

We think this project sounds like a great idea!

Its champion, Dr. Dorothy Edwards of the University of Kentucky’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Center and Women’s Place, gave a stirring and thought-provoking address to the assembly at the rally on Tuesday. Her main point: CULTURE CAN CHANGE. While we think of “the culture” as a static monolith, something outside us that determines “the way things are,” it gets its staying power from the people whose attitudes, behaviors, and statements hold it in place. When we change, and when those attitudes, behaviors, and statements change, the culture changes.

So — if the culture that produces and supports violence against women thrives on bystanders who turn away from an argument (“it’s none of my business”) or who shut the window rather than call the police when they hear the sounds of violence from the house next door, on conversation partners who let victim-blaming statements go by without a murmur, on pastors who avoid mentioning violence against women from the pulpit, never naming it as the sin and brokenness it is — then that culture begins to stop thriving and to start changing when people stop going along with it, and begin going against it, towards something different.

(This reminded me of a story LPTS professor Amy Plantinga Pauw shared in an article (alas, I’ve lost the citation!) — an anecdote about a French class, whose professor chided her students, Amy among them, on a particular usage, but who also noted that the technical distinction in question was passing out of contemporary French — “grace à vous, peut-etre”.)

The model of cultural transformation that comes about from intentional and principled communal refusal to go along with cultural business as usual is the very stuff of the life of the church. Isn’t it? The green dots of Green Dot Kentucky are small — like grains of mustard seed, like leaven mixed into three measures of flour. And perhaps they hold the same kind of promise for a commonwealth of justice and peace.

(We’ve also learned that there will be a green dot training institute, for practitioners interested in launching a green dot campaign in their own communities, as part of the upcoming Ending Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Conference” scheduled for December 8-11 in Lexington.)

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This entry was posted in Points of Information, Resources & Partners and tagged , , , , by Ha_Qohelet. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ha_Qohelet

Ha_Qohelet is a transliteration of Hebrew definite article plus a feminine participle, all together meaning "the (feminine) one who assembles" or who calls together. Qohelet is the title of one of the books of the Hebrew Scripture, known in English as Ecclesiastes. The Women's Center at LPTS feels the epithet of Qohelet is a fitting one for what we do and are. The Women's Center is, indeed, a caller-together, a caller-to-wisdom, and an assembler -- of people, of ideas, of actions, and ultimately, we hope, of transformations in the world. In this context, Ha_Qohelet is the Director of the Women's Center, and Editor-in-Chief of Wimminwise.

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