Bystanders 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. They are individuals who are present, and thus potentially in a position to discourage, prevent, or interrupt a potential incident.
Everyone can become a force for good in their community by learning to recognize the signs of danger, developing plans to keep each other safe, and committing to being an Active Bystander.
• Notice the situation. Be aware of your surroundings.
• Interpret it as a problem. Do I recognize that someone needs help?
• Feel responsible to act. See yourself as being part of the solution to help.
• Know what to do. Educate yourself on what to do before a situation arises.
• Intervene safely. Take action but be sure to keep yourself safe.
• Tell another person. Being with others is a good idea when a situation looks dangerous.
• Ask a person you are worried about if he/she is okay. Provide options and a listening ear.
• Distract or redirect individuals in unsafe situations.
• Ask the person if he/she wants to leave. Make sure that he/she gets home safely.
• Call the police (911) or someone else in authority or yell for help.
Many instances of sexual assault, sexual violence, or sexual harassment can be prevented if signs are recognized early on and general preventative action is taken. You can protect yourself and others by being aware of your surroundings and educating yourself and your friends about how to avoid situations that may lead to sexual misconduct, as well as what to do if you or someone you know is confronted with such a situation.
Remember, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something!”—Max Lucado