Bystanders play a critical role in the prevention of sexual and relationship violence. They are “individuals who observe violence or witness the conditions that perpetuate violence. They are not directly involved but have the choice to intervene, speak up, or do something about it.” We want to promote a culture of community accountability where bystanders are actively engaged in the prevention of violence without causing further harm. We may not always know what to do even if we want to help. Below is a list of some ways to be an active bystander. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, dial 911.This could be when a person is yelling at or being physically abusive towards another and it is not safe for you to interrupt.
The Clery Act defines bystander intervention as, "Safe and positive options that may be carried out by an individual or individuals to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Bystander intervention includes recognizing situations of potential harm, understanding institutional structures and cultural conditions that facilitate violence, overcoming barriers to intervening, identifying safe and effective intervention options, and taking action to intervene.” (34 CFR 668.46(j)(2)(ii))
- Watch out for your friends and fellow students/employees. If you see someone who looks like they could be in trouble or need help, ask if they are ok.
- Confront people who seclude, hit on, try to make out with, or have sex with people who are incapacitated.
- Speak up when someone discusses plans to take sexual advantage of another person.
- Believe someone who discloses sexual assault, abusive behavior, or experience with stalking.
- Refer people to on- or off-campus resources for support in health, counseling, or with legal assistance.