TAKING ACTION TO STOP VIOLENCE
Everyone can play an active role in stopping domestic violence and sexual assault before it occurs by becoming an engaged bystander and helping to establish an environment where healthy and positive relationships are based on respect, safety, and equality.
Moreover, taking steps to stop harassment or violence can make a significant difference in someone’s life, and send a powerful message to the perpetrator and society as a whole about which social norms are acceptable and which are unacceptable.
SO, WHAT DOES AN ENGAGED BYSTANDER LOOK LIKE?
An engaged bystander is someone who intervenes when they see or hear behaviors that promote, condone or encourage domestic or sexual violence. Intervening does NOT mean putting yourself in danger or increasing the risk to others. Safety is key in deciding when and how to respond to any type of violence.
Intervening can mean disrupting the social norms that perpetuate domestic & sexual violence in our culture such as:
- glorifying abusive power over other men or women
- objectifying women
- demeaning men
- tolerating violence and aggression
- promoting male dominance and adults’ misuse of power over children
- sexually abusive or physically violent hazing
- blaming victims for what happened to them
By disrupting or challenging these norms, you are acting as an engaged bystander and helping create a safer environment for everyone.
If you see or hear something that does not feel right, speak up. If you do not feel safe, call the police or go to the authorities.
Above all, trust your gut. A gut feeling can be your best guide if a situation just doesn’t seem right.
IF YOU SEE, HEAR OR SUSPECT THAT SOMEONE IS IN IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 911.
BYSTANDER INTERVENTION SCENARIOS:
(Click to view)
+ WHEN A SITUATION IN YOUR FAMILY COMES UP THAT MAKES YOU THINK SOMEONE IS BEING ABUSED. WHAT DO YOU DO?
- Learn the warning signs and red flags of abusive relationships.
- Talk privately with the victim, ask them if they would like help. Listen and do not judge.
- Offer to help them look for local resources to keep them (and any children that may be present in the home) safe.
- Try not to outwardly judge or confront the abuser as it may make the situation worse and put you in danger too.
- Offer to let them use your phone or computer to look up local resources or contact someone that can help them and any children involved.
- Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1 800 799 7233) to talk to a counselor about how you can help without putting you or the victim at greater risk.
+ YOU’RE AT A PARTY OR OUT DRINKING AND SOMEONE HAS HAD A LOT TO DRINK AND IS BEING HARASSED OR MANIPULATED BY SOMEONE YOU THINK MAY DO SOMETHING HARMFUL TO THEM. WHAT DO YOU DO?
- Talk to the individuals and their friends and ask where they are going? Do they need help? Ask where their friends are.
- Offer to help the impaired individual get home safely.
- Speak to someone in charge like a bar manager, bouncer or the host of the party to help intervene.
- Call the authorities if you hear of or see someone drugging someone’s drink(s) or giving someone something that they don’t know may severely impair them.
+ YOU ARE IN THE LUNCH ROOM WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND A GROUP OF STUDENTS NEARBY START MAKING SEXUAL GESTURES AND COMMENTS TO ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS THAT IS SITTING WITH YOU. THOUGH TRYING TO IGNORE THE COMMENTS, YOU SEE THAT YOUR FRIEND IS UPSET. WHAT DO YOU DO?
- You can tell the group making the comments to stop their sexually harassing behavior, or ask them to imagine how they’d feel if someone made that comment about one of their family members or someone else they cared about.
- You could ask your friend if they want to leave and talk to a teacher or counselor.
Whatever you choose in the moment, you should tell an authority figure about the harassment and ask them to intervene. While it’s not physical violence, these types of harassing behaviors help foster an environment that condones domestic & sexual violence in our society.
+ A CO-WORKER STARTS TALKING ABOUT A RECENT HIGH-PROFILE RAPE OR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASE AND BLAMES THE VICTIM FOR WHAT HAPPENED. WHAT DO YOU DO?
- Tell them that regardless of what they think happened that it’s never the victim’s fault.
- Give them resources that explain the realities of domestic and sexual violence.
- Contact your human resources representative or immediate supervisor and ask that the staff receive training on these issues.
+ A NEIGHBORHOOD TEEN TELLS YOUR THEIR BOY/GIRLFRIEND IS HURTING THEM, HARASSING THEM AND/OR FORCING THEM INTO SEXUAL SITUATIONS. WHAT DO YOU DO?
- Tell the victim that what is happening to them is not right and it’s not their fault.
- Offer to help them look for local resources to keep them safe.
- Ask them if there is an adult at their school, like a teacher, counselor or principal or a parent they can talk with to help them stay safe.
- Check in with them to see if they are safe and offer to help them involve individuals resources to help make the abuse stop.
+ THE GUYS ON YOUR TEAM ARE CONSTANTLY MAKING LEWD, RUDE OR DEGRADING COMMENTS ABOUT WOMEN AND GIRLS OR CALLING EACH OTHER NAMES THAT IMPLY THEY ARE “WEAK LIKE GIRLS.” WHAT DO YOU DO?
- Speak up that their comments are degrading to their teammates and to women in general and it’s not cool with you.
- Talk to teammates individually about the situation and ask that they not join in those behaviors.
- Ask the coach to talk to the team, or individual, about how harassment and the degradation of women and girls is not okay.
+ YOU WAKE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT HEARING SCREAMING, CRYING, YELLING AND BANGING FROM A NEIGHBOR’S HOUSE, APARTMENT OR FROM A DORM ROOM?” WHAT DO YOU DO?
- Call 911 and report what you hear.
- If you know the neighbor and when it is safe to talk to the victim, let them know that resources are available locally to help them.
- Offer to let them use your phone or computer to look up local resources or to contact someone that can help them.
ADDITIONAL BYSTANDER INTERVENTION RESOURCES:
- Avon Foundation for Women partnered with NO MORE to develop free online bystander training programs
- NSVRC’s Engaging Bystanders to Prevent Sexual Violence: Resource List
- Partners in Social Change: Bystanders as Primary Prevention
+CLICK TO VIEW RESOURCES FOR TAKING ACTION ON CAMPUS
Know Your Power Developed by researchers at the University of New Hampshire,this campaign is a nationally recognized program focused on reducing sexual and relationship violence and stalking on college campuses.
Green Dot Campaign is based on the idea that peer influence often predicts behavior. In instances of harmful or violent words, actions, or behaviors, each person has a choice to ignore or accept (a red dot) or intervene to address it (a green dot).
+CLICK TO VIEW RESOURCES FOR MEN
Online Resources for male survivors, their friends, family and community.
The Campus Men of Strength Club is based on Men Can Stop Rape’s core organizational values: prevention, nonviolence, redefining masculinity, male positivity and gender equity.
WHERE DO YOU STAND? campaign materials present compelling images of college men role modeling specific intervention strategies.
+CLICK TO VIEW RESOURCES FOR TEENS AND YOUTH
Love is Not Abuse teen dating violence tips and resources for youth to recognize the warning signs and speak out about unhealthy relationships. Teen Abuse helpline 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522.
That’s Not Cool teen focused information, video and games campaign that use the use of social media and technology as a means to discuss healthy relationships and abusive behaviors.