Positive bystanders are individuals who witness emergencies or situations that could lead to criminal events and choose to intervene and prevent the situation from escalating.

The bystander approach to sexual violence prevention puts the responsibility of stopping sexual violence on the community, rather than on the victim- survivor.

1. Recognize an event as inappropriate or sexually violent.

For example, an individual may seem uncomfortable, but have no way out of the situation; be intoxicated; be alone, or away from friends.

Things to think about:
Am I aware there is a problem or risky situation?
Do I recognize someone needs help?

2. Assume personal responsibility.

Research shows that when more bystanders are present for an emergency or situation that could lead to a criminal event, bystanders are less likely to intervene. When more bystanders are present, individuals assume others will step in and intervene. You can make a real difference by assuming responsibility and stepping in to help the situation.

Things to think about:
What are the costs/benefits of taking action?
Who else can help?
Do I see myself as part of the solution?

3. Determine how to help (and maintain personal safety)

Once you have made the decision to intervene, it is important to come up with an intervention strategy that is productive for the situation and ensures your safety, as well as for those involved. It may be better to take a non-confrontational approach such as distraction, or it may be helpful to ask others to help you intervene.

Things to think about:
How can I keep myself safe?
What are my available options?
Do I see others as part of the solution?

4. Speak UP and intervene!

Now that you have thought through your strategy, carry out your plan. After you have intervened, check in with the person needing help to make sure they are okay and they feel safe.

Things to think about:
Have I told everyone I need to about the problem?
Is everyone safe now?
How can I make sure the situation stays safe?

Fraternity Ally Training

Facilitated by fraternity Speak UP Bucknell peer educators, Fraternity Ally Training is available to fraternity men who are interested in learning more about sexual violence prevention.

Learn more

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