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Bystander Intervention

How Bystanders Can Intervene

Every campus has a population of bystanders who support sexual violence. They may not mean to do so, yet by not intervening when they see something happening, not reporting actions or dismissing certain behaviors, they are essentially sending a message to perpetrators that their actions are okay.

Proactive Bystander Strategies

In order to be a proactive bystander who helps prevent cases of sexual harassment or sexual violence, you can:

  • Believe violence is unacceptable and say it out loud
  • Treat people with respect
  • Speak up when you hear people making statements that blame victims
  • Talk with friends about confronting violence against men or women
  • Encourage female or male friends to trust their instincts
  • Be a knowledgeable resource for victims
  • Don’t laugh at sexist jokes or comments
  • Look out for friends at parties and bars
  • Educate yourself and your friends
  • Use campus resources
  • Attend an awareness event
  • Empower victims to tell their stories

Reactive Bystander Strategies

In order to be a reactive bystander who positively intervenes in instances of sexual harassment or sexual violence, you can:

  • Get campus police or other authorities involved
  • Tell someone else
  • Get help
  • Ask a friend in a potentially dangerous situation if he or she wants to leave
  • Make sure he or she gets home safely
  • Ask a victim if he or she is okay
  • Provide options and a listening ear
  • Call the campus or local counseling/crisis center for support and options

Sources: “What Can I Do?” Prevention Innovations, UNH,; The Transformation Project/Green Dot, The University of Tennessee Chattanooga.