Bystander Intervention

There are many things people can do to help prevent sexual violence.

If you see someone in danger of being assaulted:

  • Provide a distraction that interrupts an interaction (e.g., call a friend's phone repeatedly, spill something on purpose, ask where the bathroom is, interrupt the conversation, tell the potential perpetrator that their car is being towed, etc.).
  • Directly engage one or more of the involved parties.
  • Tell someone else and get help.
  • Ask someone in a potentially dangerous situation if they are okay and/or want to leave. 
  • Don’t leave. If you remain at the scene and are a witness, the perpetrator is less likely to do anything.
  • Make sure he/she gets home safely.
  • Step in and offer assistance. Ask if the person needs help. NOTE: Before stepping in, make sure to evaluate the risk. If it means putting yourself in danger, call 911 instead.
  • Remind the potential perpetrator that incapacitated people can't give consent.
  • If you know the potential perpetrator, tell the person you do not approve of their actions. Ask the person to leave the potential victim alone.
  • Help remove someone from the situation.

Be an ally:

  • Provide a listening ear. 
  • Don't just hope that someone else will step in. You have the ability to stop a terrible, life-altering situation. Be part of the solution!

If someone you know has been assaulted:

  • Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental.
  • Be patient. Remember, it will take your friend some time to deal with the experience.
  • Help to empower your friend or family member. Sexual assault is a crime that takes away an individual’s power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your friend or family member to do things that they are not ready to do yet.
  • Encourage your friend to seek counseling. Free counseling services are available at the ESU Student Wellness Center (620-341-5222).
  • If your friend is willing to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to accompany them wherever they need to go (hospital, police station, campus security, etc.)

Be a proactive bystander:

  • By speaking out and educating ourselves and others, we can help to decrease the number of sexual assaults.
  • Believe that sexual and relationship violence is unacceptable and say it out loud.
  • Treat people with respect.
  • Speak up when you hear victim-blaming statements.
  • Talk with friends about confronting sexual and relationship violence. 
  • Encourage friends to trust their instincts in order to stay safe.
  • Be a knowledgeable resource for survivors.
  • Don't laugh at sexist jokes or comments.
  • Look out for friends and others.
  • Educate yourself and your friends.
  • Use campus resources.
  • Attend awareness events.
  • Empower survivors to tell their stories.

Content adapted from & Emporia State University VAWA Brochure