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By Steve Kotecki, 21st Space Wing
/ Published September 05, 2017
Nate Burke, Air Force Green Dot program senior trainer and project lead, speaks with Airmen at the Forrest L. Vosler Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, Peterson Air Force Base, on Aug. 22, 2017. The briefing was part of a short visit so that Burke can touch base with Green Dot implementers and hear feedback from Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Kotecki)
Nate Burke, Air Force Green Dot program senior trainer and project lead, spoke with students at the Forrest L. Vosler Non-Commissioned Officer Academy on Aug. 22, 2017. The stop was part of a regularly scheduled visit by the Green Dot team to Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
Green Dot is a violence prevention initiative created and started by Dr. Dorothy Edwards, Green Dot executive director, that was adopted by the Air Force in 2015.
The program is intended to be different than other violence prevention methods in that it tries to break down the barrier between sexes and the divide between perpetrator and victim, said Burke.
“Green Dot was born out of failure, instead of beating someone over the head with the idea that all men are evil and all women are victims of sexual violence, we shift the focus to the bystander.” Burke said.
“Dr. Edwards came to the realization though studies and interviews that a vast majority of people have been affected by sexual violence, it either happened to the individual or someone knows someone who’s been a victim of it,” said Burke. “Once we realize that, we understand that it’s a human problem and not just women vs. men, or men vs. women. It affects all of us.”
Burke spoke with the students about the importance of the training and how Green Dot is changing the culture of the Air Force when it comes to sexual assault and violence.
He shared personal stories and anecdotes about himself, and others, who have shared with him their experiences and how these stories led to him being passionate about the Green Dot training.
“The best way to get people to listen and understand the training is having a speaker that’s fired up about the material, too,” Burke said. “When we’re training Airmen to be Green Dot implementers it’s important that they believe in, and are excited about, the program.”
Burke also stressed that Green Dot isn’t a passive fixed program. The Air Force’s 2016 curriculum focused on sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking. This year suicide prevention will be added to the curriculum.
“Every year we add a little bit to the program so it isn’t the same thing every year. For Green Dot there is a beginning and an end to it. Once the program is complete nothing new will be added to it and the goal will then be sustainability,” said Burke. “The goal for sustainability will be the culture of Green Dot that we’re striving for.”
“Overall the Green Dot Program approach is giving a sense of hope on our installation. This hope is vital to turning the tide on the common thought that there's nothing I can do to stop anyone from being hurt by power-based violence,” said Michel Cremeans, 21st Space Wing violence prevention integrator.
“The message is also that it takes all of us doing our part to change the culture to where interpersonal violence is not tolerated here.” Cremeans added. “I think the momentum of this message is starting to take hold and it's only a matter of time until we see the impact of our collective efforts.”