Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center

A proactive bystander is an individual who accepts personal responsibility for a situation and intervenes to ensure the well-being and/or safety of others.

Bystander intervention is necessary to create and promote a safe, respectful and welcoming community.

Steps to Intervention:
1. Notice the event
2. Interpret the event as problematic
3. Assume personal responsibility
4. Take action

Oftentimes, there are barriers to intervening. These barriers are rooted in fear and can be:
• Physical (e.g., you don’t want to get into a fight)
• Emotional (e.g., you don’t want to ruin the mood)
• Social (e.g., you don’t want to confront someone of a higher status)

Bystander Intervention Strategies (The Four D’s):
Consider your position in the situation, your own personal safety, weigh the benefits and consequences of intervening, and choose the best method to intervene.
• Direct: directly intervene
• Distract: distract either party
• Delegate: get help from others
• Delay: check in later

Proactive Bystander Toolbox
Some things to consider when deciding the best way to intervene:
• Tone - willingness to appeal to the potential offender should be based on the urgency of the situation
• Social distance - consider your relationship with potential perpetrator/survivor
• Intersectionality - What do you have in common? How can you use these commonalities to make an intervention more effective?