We are all bystanders. From walking to class to running at the gym, we all witness a wide range of situations, from inappropriate sexual comments or sexual harassment.
It's the choice we make to do something that can make a difference, not only for the victim but for our community as well.
We can promote positive behaviors and attitudes or prevent harmful ones.
Bystander Intervention is a practice of strategy and way of thinking for preventing different types of violences, from bullying to sexual assault. It is when a bystander, classmate, teammate, or friend, safely and effectively steps in and prevents or stops another person from being in a situation of sexual violence.
There are many benefits to Bystander Intervention.
This practice discourages victim blaming, promotes the change of social norms like rape culture, and shifts the responsibility from victim to community for both men and women are equal in prevention.
THE BASICS TO BYSTANDER INTERVENTION
- Notice the Event
- Identify it as an emergency
- Take responsibility
- Decide how to help (safely and effectively)
- Act to intervene
- Step in
- Ask if the person needs help, a friend, a ride, or to call 911
- Don’t leave them
- Have a buddy system, alerting other friends
- Distract the perp so there’s time to intervene
SCENE ONE: SAVE ONE
You and friends are walking to your next class together. Your male friend sees a woman and loudly begins to make suggestive comments about her body.
Because he is your friend, you can stepping in pretty quickly without hurting his feelings. If you can’t step in quickly, try to steer your friend in the opposite direction, considering the feeling of the woman. When talking to your friend, begin positive vibes, such as that you care for him. Then tell him that since he’s your friend, tell him what he specifically did was not cool.
You and some friends are dancing at a party and some strange guy comes in and begins to isolate one of your friends, eventually blocking her from the group’s view.
First, make eye contact with your friend to see if she needs/wants help. If so, find ways to pull her away from the situation. If you’re unsure, ask her or text her.
Tip: Before you go out with a group a friends, make a plan on how to find one other, or what the group should do in case a situation like this has escalated.
You a buddy are a party and notice some guy being over freely on a fellow female student who appears to be really drunk. His hand movements become more aggressive with barely any reflex from the female.
First, tell a friend to keep an eye out for the girl while you assess the situation. Try to step into the “couple’s” situation by asking the girl a few friendly questions, while doing so,asses her state of mind and level of intoxication. If she is completely passed out, tell the “perp” her friend is looking for her and is about to call the cops. He will probably run away, then take her away and try to get her somewhere safe. If the girl is awake but incoherent, tell the “perp” her mom is freaking out and security is on their way, in which he will probably leave. Then ask if she needs a friend, a ride, or to call 911.
"it's the choice we make to do something that can make a difference, not only for the victim but for our community as well"
HEY GUYS, JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Most men are opposed to violence against women, but most don’t know how to spot it or stop it. If males are treated as potential perps, they can become defensive and less willing to participate in the prevention process.
Enlisting males all supporters and participants in the prevention of sexual violence is key to eliminating sexual violence against women. This can happen by changing social norms, to which men have a significant role is shaping those that surround sexual violence.
Males tend to have a group pack mentality. They are more likely to intervene in sexually violent situations when they think that other men would do the same. Unfortunately, college male students underestimate how uncomfortable sexual violence makes their peers, which results a more disregard to intervene. That is why we should change what the group thinks and respect and reward those men who do intervene and interrupt abusive behavior.
One of the key influences of change that comes from Bystander Intervention is communication, about the subject, sexual violence, how to stop it and how to change it. Male bystanders can spread more change by talking to other male bystanders about the issues at hand, social norms, and how elevate themselves from the group norms of acceptance of sexual violence and abusive behaviors.
Starting with those in high school and college, with the potential of future generations, we can all, both men and women, end the social norms supporting rape culture. Men can influence their peers that women are not something to be used and bruised. Men can share the voice women have and prevent rape on campuses, a problem that is too common. By doing so, men are contributing to a much safer and comfortable environment for him, his peers, and the opposite sex.