Preventing red dots

Shelbie Goulding

Kent State Green Dot launched in 2014 as an approach to prevent sexual assault and relationship violence. Green Dot is about taking the initiative to stand against violence and preventing it from spreading within the community. Whether it’s going through a green dot training program or talking with a friend or family member, a green dot on a community map shows safety and caring individuals within Kent’s campus.

“I want students to put me out of the job,” Green Dot Project Coordinator Sven Rundman said.

He said Green Dot has a goal to create a new culture within the Kent community where students don’t’ tolerate this type of violence. He wants the students to have a mindset where everyone looks out for everyone. “If I can help teach students to stop one situation, then that’s one less person who’s going to receive harm on this campus. That’s our goal here.”

Rundman begun working with Green Dot in June 2017. He believed working in this field has changed not only his own perspective on sexual assault and relationship violence, but his friends perspective as well.

“After getting this job I was shocked as to how many of my friends reached out to me about their stories,” Rundman said. He mentioned how a friend of his from college ran into him this past January and told a story as to how a friend of theirs sexually assaulted her four or five years ago.

“The fact that I’m just now hearing about this makes me upset,” Rundman said. “It fuels my fire hearing these incidents happen, and I want to end them.” He said his friend is traumatized from the assault, and it worries him that people like her have to go through with this sort of trauma because sometimes it’s hard to find that trust again. “We can’t accept this violence to keep happening under our noses,” Rundman said. “It shouldn’t be tolerated.”

Rundman’s main task is to organize and teach the Green Dot training program for students and faculty across campus. Recently the Greek life fraternity Alpha Tau Omega took part in the training program with Rundman.

“Everyone’s reaction going into the program was positive,” Alpha Tau Omega President Nikolas Ruiz said. “Some of the guys thought it was going to be one of those boring, long lectures, but it was extremely effective and gave us the opportunity to interact a lot.” Ruiz said his fraternity chose to partner with Rundman in order to learn how to prevent sexual assault violence from happening at parties and within the community, especially since Greek life is on the edge and people have stereotypical thoughts about fraternities and sororities. “We want to help males, females or whatever gender type in these situations and prevent sexual violence from occurring on campus,” Ruiz said.

“With being a male at the age of 25, it makes me feel like I’m getting my message across to students easier than an older faculty member would,” Rundman said. He said not many male figures take on career paths such as this one, and being near the same age as the students makes it easier to talk with the students and spread awareness about the topic at hand. “My job is to prevent this type of violence and get Green Dot’s message across the campus,” Rundman said. “That’s my goal, and I think what I’m doing is important and meaningful.”

The Green Dot Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services are located at the Williamson House on Kent State University main campus.