How does a community end gender violence? Two visiting speakers will share their ideas Thursday at an event, “A Public Conversation About Gender Violence at U.Va.: What is a Community of Trust?,” to be held at 6 p.m. in Ern Commons.
Dorothy Edwards, a psychological counselor who specializes in prevention of gender violence, and attorney Gina Maisto Smith, a legal expert in university policy related to sexual misconduct, will lead a conversation, free and open to the public, about ending gender violence. President Teresa A. Sullivan will make opening remarks, and mediator Frank Dukes, who directs U.Va.’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation, will moderate the discussion.
Edwards is founder and executive director of Green Dot, etc., a center dedicated to effective intervention and prevention of power-based personal violence. “In order to create a cultural shift,” she said, “a critical mass of people will need to engage in a new behavior or set of behaviors that will make violence less sustainable within any given community.”
Informed by social change theory, the Green Dot model “targets all community members as potential bystanders,” the center’s website says, and “seeks to engage them, through awareness, education and skills-practice, in proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm, as well as reactive interventions in high-risk situations – resulting in the ultimate reduction of violence.”