JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —
In the past few years, Air Force Airmen and civilian employees have seen a major shift in annual required training on topics involving suicide and sexual assault prevention.
Now in its third year, the Green Dot training program focuses more on prevention and bystander intervention of all types of violence, including interpersonal and self-inflicted violence.
“It’s a simple concept that enhances our visual understanding of our actions,” said Pamela Adams, the Violence Prevention coordinator at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. “When you look at our training maps, red dots represent violent behaviors, while green dots represent positive behaviors where someone prevented violence or set a positive standard that violence is not acceptable behavior. The idea is to have more green dots than red at any given time.”
In previous years, suicide and sexual assault prevention training have focused on individuals protecting themselves against violent behaviors. Trainers walked classes through scenarios based on sexual assault reports from the past, such as never leaving a drink unattended at a bar, said Regina Fremont-Gomez, a Green Dot trainer.
“The biggest difference with this training is that we’re discussing small things we can all do every day to protect each other, not just ourselves,” said Fremont-Gomez. “We’re not expecting you to go out and stop a rape every day, but a lot of the violent behaviors can be prevented with small actions we can take in our everyday lives.”
At JBLE, just a handful of trainers, known as implementers, are responsible for training approximately 10,000 employees including active duty, National Guard, Air Force Reservists and civilian employees, so classes are held regularly throughout the year.
“We are all one family and these situations don’t just happen to one demographic,” said Adams. “It’s an Air Force-wide program because it’s important for all employees to know that they all play a vital role in the prevention of violence.”
Throughout training sessions, attendees are taken through survey questions to gauge how many know someone who has been personally affected by interpersonal violence. They are then taken through examples from implementers demonstrating how they might respond in various situations.
“This year the program works really hard to show people these are things that happen to us every day, and it forces people in our classes to really think about what they would do in a situation, in person or online through social media,” said Fremont-Gomez. “We all know people going through stressful situations, which doesn’t necessarily mean those individuals are suicidal; they just may be at a higher risk for it and it’s important for us to step in and check on them.”
There are many ways for people on the installation to get involved in these programs on base or in their local communities, said Adams. Prevention starts with the smallest “green dot” behaviors to outnumber and eventually eliminate “red dots” on the map, she said.
“We have flyers and posters you can display in your work center, your kids’ schools or your church,” said Adams. “Or, if you want to take a bigger role with the program, we are always looking for passionate trainers to help facilitate the program and spread the word of empowerment and prevention.”
For more information on becoming a Green Dot implementer, contact Adams at (757) 764-5433.