Reposted from Dal Student Life at https://studentlife.dal.ca/article/2021/04/how-to-be-an-active-bystander.html
Bystander intervention is when you step up to try and de-escalate a potentially harmful situation, such as sexualized violence. It’s the right thing to do, and here’s how.
Anyone can be an active bystander, but it’s always important to consider your personal safety in the situation before deciding to intervene. Once you’ve decided that it’s safe to step up, there are several forms that bystander intervention can take.
The following intervention approaches are for intervening in instances of sexualized violence in particular, but they can also be applied to many other potentially harmful situations:
Determine if something is wrong
- Distraction: You can distract the person who is engaging in problematic behaviour by asking them a question or for advice.
- Physical presence: Just being present and letting the person who is engaging in harmful behaviour know that you’re watching them can have an impact and potentially stop something harmful from happening.
- Calling out: If you feel comfortable, you can call out the person who is engaging in harmful behaviour by saying things like: Stop that! Leave them alone. Hey, that’s not cool! That joke isn’t funny.
- Asking the person who is causing harm to leave: If the person who is causing harm doesn’t stop when asked to, you can say things like: I think you should leave. That type of behaviour isn’t welcome here.
- Providing support to the target of the problematic behaviour: If you’re uncomfortable addressing the individual who is causing the harm you can focus on the person who is the target of the unwanted attention. You can ask them if they are OK. If there is anything you can do to help them. If you’re at a party, you can ask if they’d like you to find their friends for them. Or you can offer to walk them home or offer to help them get away from the harmful situation.
After something has already happened
All this information comes from the Waves of Change Basic Bystander Module. To learn more about how to be an active bystander or to receive Waves of Change bystander training, contact Human Rights and Equity Services at HRES@dal.ca.