A campaign to prevent violence culminated in bystander intervention training in Wrangell Saturday.

The Green Dot campaign is based on the premise that anyone can make the choice to help prevent violence in the community by intervening in situations that could lead to interpersonal, sexual or partner violence.

“People who do green dots are individuals who do something to make it less likely that something bad will happen or get worse.”

Julie Falle is one of the campaign directors in Wrangell.

“Choosing to talk to your children about violence or anti-bullying. Choosing to come to a training to learn more. Choosing to wear your sweatshirts, or choosing to step in. Choosing to connect with a friend who maybe just doesn’t seem herself. These are all examples of green dots,” Falle said.

The anti-violence training is especially pertinent in Alaska, a state with high rates of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault.

Rachel Coblentz helped lead the training. She said the Green Dot campaign should encourage people to speak out against violence.

“This is something I’m really passionate about,” Coblentz said. “And I think it’s important for people to know that having a voice is okay, whether it feels right or not.”

During the training, participants read scenarios and picked out warning signs of violence. They discussed how they could intervene to keep those situations from escalating.

The training gave participants specific tools for identifying and mitigating violence in the community.

Falle said the first tool is a process for recognizing a potentially violent situation.

“If something feels uncomfortable, check in with the person. Take a second look at it. Really make sure you know what’s going on in that situation. Check in. And then, what if this was someone that I love? Put that personal piece in there,” Falle said. “We can’t always be there to protect the people we love, so the hope would be that other community members, neighbors, friends could be the ones to do it.”

The training also gave guidelines for intervening. “The three D’s” instruct bystanders to direct, distract or delegate. Bystanders can directly intervene verbally or physically in a potentially violent or abusive situation.

Another option is to try to distract the perpetrator. If the bystander is very uncomfortable with intervening, the bystander can also “delegate:” call the police or ask someone else to intervene.

Falle says it is normal to feel uncomfortable about intervening, especially in a small town where bystanders are more likely to know the perpetrator and victim.

“We don’t we help?” Falle asked. “Because we feel like there’s someone more capable of helping. We don’t want be embarrassed. We’re not entirely certain what we’re seeing. Other people are telling you what you’re saying is wrong, or that this is socially acceptable. This is just how they are.”

Falle said it is important to recognize those barriers and get past them to prevent violence. If bystanders take on some of the responsibility for violence in the community, they will be more likely to intervene.