What are Green and Red Dots


Research shows that thousands in the United States and around the world are victims of power-based personal violence.  Each incident hurts all of us.  These acts of violence are like red dots covering a map, much like an epidemic spreading out of control if not stopped.  Categories of red dots that are the focus of Iowa State Green Dot are explained below.  For more information about resources for someone who has experienced power-based personal violence, please click here.

Power-Based Personal Violence

A form of violence that has as a primary motivator the assertion of power, control and/or intimidation in order to harm another.  This includes partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, bullying, child abuse, and elder abuse.  It includes the use of alcohol or drugs to commit any of these acts.  These acts are inclusive of acts committed by strangers, friends, acquaintances, intimates, or other persons.  For a complete list of resources around power-based personal violence, please click here.

Sexual Violence
Any sexual contact that lacks consent and/or capacity to give consent.  Includes forcible fondling, sexual assault, rape and attempted rape.

Intimate Partner Violence
Physical, sexual or psychological harm, or threat of harm, by a current or former partner.  Intimate Partner Violence is also known as dating violence, domestic violence, intimate partner abuse, relationship violence, etc.

Course of conduct targeted at an individual or group that would cause a reasonable person to feel afraid.  Examples include unwanted calling, texting, and facebooking; sending unwanted letters/gifts; following a person; etc.

Targeting & Bullying
A pattern of behaviors directed toward an individual based upon their identity, behavior, membership in a group or organization, or otherwise, that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working, living, or learning environment. For more information about online bullying, please click here.


  • Have conversations about ending power-based personal violence with your friends
  • Wear a green dot button or lapel pin
  • Do a paper or class assignment on power-based personal violence prevention
  • Look out for friends at parties, bars, online and in other high-risk situations
  • Attend power-based personal violence prevention events
  • Believe that power-based personal violence is unacceptable and say it out loud
  • Work to bring an education program to your class, group, team or organization
  • Volunteer with your local service providers
  • Check in with friends if you are concerned about their safety and connect them to help
  • Put green dot information on your Facebook page and your email signature line
  • Display a green dot cling on your window
  • Tell other people about your green dots
  • Talk about green dots to one new person each week
  • Educate myself about power-based personal violence and what I can do about it.
  • Encourage a friend to get the Green Dot Bystander training.


  • If I suspect that my friend is in an abusive relationship, I ask them and provide information about resources available.
  • If I suspect a friend has been sexually assaulted, I let them know I am here if they want to talk.
  • If I hear someone yelling and fighting, I call 911.
  • If I see someone spike another person’s drink, I stop them and call police or get someone else to.
  • If I see a friend grab, push or insult a potential victim, I say something, go get help or get someone else to.
  • If I see a stranger grab, push or insult someone, I say something, go get help or ask someone else to.
  • If I see a friend take an intoxicated person up the stairs, I stop and ask what is going on – or create a distraction to interrupt the situation.
  • If someone appears upset, I ask if they are okay.
  • If I see hurtful information about someone I know online, I tell them about it.
  • If I notice someone has a large bruise, I ask how they were hurt.
  • If I see a person sexually assaulting another person, I intervene.
  • I talk to my friends about consent… and how they should wait until their partner verbalizes their feelings.
  • If I hear about or see people bullying someone online, I intervene.
  • If I choose to leave a party early, I account for the people I came with.
  • I share statistics with my friends about power-based personal violence.
  • If someone needs my help and I don’t have the answer, I utilize my resources and find someone who does.
  • I work to ensure organizations I am involved in collaborate with prevention efforts on campus.
  • I take the opportunity to write papers or give speeches in class about the issue of violence.
  • I strike up conversations with my friends about the importance of intervening in potentially high-risk situations.
  • If I hear what sounds like yelling or fighting through my dorm or apartment walls, I talk with a CA or someone else who can help.

Adapted from Vanderbilt University – Green Dot at Vanderbilt