BY VICTORIA TRAVERS
In February we had the pleasure of welcoming Jenn Sayre and Marigail Sexton of Green Dot into the Hollaback! office to discuss collaborations and share success stories. Green Dot is a violence prevention strategy that gives everyone the skills needed to stop rape, partner violence and stalking, while also imparting how we can promote safety our own communities. And what is even more fantastic is that they are collaborating with Hollaback!. Jenn even made an appearance in our Saturday Webinar to discuss how bystander intervention can be used to end street harassment.
The organization is dedicated to measurably and systematically reducing violence within any given community using research and training. It operates under the vision that every time a form of abuse occurs or is ignored a red dot appears on a map, but to counteract this each time a any behavior, choice, word or attitude that promotes safety occurs a green dot appears.
Jennifer M. Sayre, Ph.D. is the Director of Training and Development for Green Dot. Under Jenn’s direction, Green Dot provides training and consultation to universities, non-profit organizations, and military installations across the globe inspiring and mobilizing people to act on preventing personal violence within their own communities:
“I become more certain each day that as a direct result of our work, rates of power-based personal violence will go down.”
Jenn worked as a therapist for over a decade before her work with Green Dot where she was frequently met with the devastating consequences of power-based personal violence. Prior to Green Dot Jenn believed that:
“The best I could do was help glue shattered people back together.”
However, after learning of Green Dot Jenn admits that this belief changed dramatically:
“Hope was awakened in me and I have since been propelled into this work with a sense of urgency and optimism.”
Jenn is adamant that the organization’s work in bystander intervention and the reeducation of communities is directly responsible for the decrease in personal violence. Recently, Jenn’s youngest daughter gave her a pin that read “My Mother is a Goddess,” which she admits:
“Inspired me to have the audacity to believe that I can and will be a part of making this world safer.”
Jenn is a graduate of Dartmouth College and obtained her masters and doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia.
Marigail Sexton is the Director of Communications for Green Dot and despite spending many years completing work in this field Marigail “never once believed that what” she “was doing could really end violence,” but that was before Green Dot. Marigail says:
“I have been reignited by Green Dot, as have many people across the country. I am honored to be a part of this new approach to violence prevention and look forward to the new-found freedom it will bring us all.”
Marigail has 20 years of experience in sexual violence and associated fields and was instrumental in the initial development of the Green Dot violence prevention strategy. Her previous professional roles include : Communications and Program Development Coordinator for the Violence, Intervention, and Prevention Center at the University of Kentucky; Executive Director of Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs; Program Coordinator with the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Services; and Project Coordinator for the UK Center for Research on Violence Against Women. Marigail was also active in sexual violence prevention work in Virginia.
“You cannot be free, if you are not safe. This statement, I love.”
Marigail confesses that her “intense desire” for what she describes as “full and complete freedom” for everyone is what drives her in her life and in her role at Green Dot.