Inspired: That’s how I felt, sitting as one of the trainees at the Green Dot Bystander Training session hosted by United Way of Greater Fond du Lac in collaboration with the Fond du Lac Area Women’s Fund as I heard certified Green Dot trainer Bill Bunzel of Society Insurance share his story of why he’s involved with this project.
Bill relayed the story of Tom*, a young man he’d coached many years ago on the wrestling team. Tom was like the 17.2% of American children annually who are physically abused by an adult caregiver. And that’s just the number we know about, as many more children will be abused without child protective services ever knowing.
As Bill tells it, child protective services eventually found out about the abuse Tom and his four siblings suffered at the hands of their father for years.
When Tom weighed in as a freshman wrestler – and each year thereafter – coaches noticed the bruises. But no one knew how to act on their concerns for the boy. Understandable. Because, as all of us have probably felt at some point in our lives, we are frozen to act in situations that are difficult to navigate – especially as a bystander.
Bill is committed to Green Dot because he wants to ensure as many people as possible have the knowledge and practical tools to help in situations where they witness power-based violence in the forms of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and elder abuse.