Let’s talk a little bit about these green dots that are about to pop up all over campus. Think of green means go. Green means go, get consent, go out there and help someone, step up and be the person to make your community safer. Now let’s think of a red dot. A red dot is a rape—a red dot is a hit—a threat—an individual choice to do nothing in the face of a potentially high risk situation. It’s hard to know how many red dots exist on USF’s campus. How many times someone could have stepped up and helped a classmate, a friend, a roommate, an acquaintance, and didn’t. Did nothing.
Now let’s think of putting a green dot in the middle of the sea of red dots. This green dot is taking your friend home from a party, talking to your friend about being an active, not passive bystander. This green dot is stepping in and helping someone, and telling someone else to back off, they’ve had too much to drink. You just prevented a fight—a rape—an argument that got physical—a stalking situation that went too far. You were just an active bystander. You just made USF’s campus safer.
Many people don’t step up because they think their action is too small, it won’t really change that much, there’s too much to be done. But in reality, while anyone may not be able to do everything, everyone can do something. And if everyone does do something, steps in, helps someone in need, intervenes to stop violence, the world becomes a better place. In your time here at USF, you will not only have the opportunity to learn on your campus, but you will have the opportunity to step up and act on the things that matter to you. Find a way, every day, that you may live the green dot. That you may cancel out some of the violence that is happening in our world and do good to make our community and world a safer place. We cannot succeed if everyone doesn’t commit to stepping in and stopping violence in their own way. We know that everyone is different, and feels comfortable helping in different ways. No worries. You’re preventing violence even if you just tell one person about the Green Dot and what it means to you. It all starts with you.
Throughout this month you will see a variety of Bulls from different backgrounds all showing why and how it is so easy to be an active bystander in everyday situations. Keep an eye out on social media for friends, colleagues, classmates, and acquaintances you may know around campus. They’re here to tell you you’re already helping your community by preventing violence in your everyday life. Remember we’re all here for each other to make our community a safe and fun place to live! Go Bulls!