An active bystander is someone who intervenes to interrupt behavior in situations that could lead to sexual misconduct, assault, or violence. Effective intervention is the community responsibility of every person. Individuals are encouraged to speak out against attitudes that promote sexual misconduct and become more supportive of victims. There are essentially five stages to effective and safe bystander intervention:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings and notice potential problems;
  2. Understand that the problem demands action;
  3. Feel the responsibility to act, just as you hope others would if you were the person in the problem situation;
  4. Choose what form of safe assistance to provide; and
  5. Respond.

Remember intervention doesn’t have to be confrontational. Simply honking your car horn, turning on the lights, or turning off the music at a party can call attention to a situation. Every member of the University community plays a role in intervention. If you don’t speak up and challenge inappropriate behavior once you become aware, in a sense you are helping to perpetuate the problem.

Other tips for safe intervention:

  • Remain calm and speak up, say something like… “You need to just ease up” or; “he/she already said no to you once, so why don’t you just stop”.
  • Remain calm and ask the perpetrator “Is there a problem here?” or “What are you doing to this person?” or “You should really stop and think about what you’re doing here”.
  • Ask others in the area to help so as to intervene as a group.
  • Assist the person by walking them to their car or to a safe area until assistance arrives if authorities have been contacted.
  • Call Campus Security 256-233-8222 or 911 if not on campus.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell a friend when they are acting inappropriately.
  • Be willing to challenge inappropriate conversation or jokes directed at sexual misconduct, assault, or violence.
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