what is bystander intervention - Louisiana Foundation Against


what is bystander intervention - Louisiana Foundation Against
Louisiana Foundation
Against Sexual Assault
Sexual Assault Crisis Centers provide
a 24-hour crisis hotline, information and
referral, free counseling and more..
We usually think of intervening as stopping
individual acts of sexual abuse or rape, in the
few moments before it happens. But rarely is
this individual “event” the only chance to make a
We witness situations every day in which someone
makes an inappropriate or derogatory sexual
comment or perpetrates sexual harassment. Each
of these presents an opportunity to intervene by
reinforcing positive attitudes and behaviors BEFORE
a behavior potentially becomes abusive or violent.
If we only limit our interventions to a culminating
“event,” we miss multiple opportunities to do
something or say something before someone is
harmed. As men, it’s important to recognize that we
can play a key role in shaping the culture around
sexual violence. Stepping up and speaking out as
bystanders is one way to do so.
11832 Newcastle Ave, Ste. 9
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Bystander Intervention:
Because getting involved helps
prevent sexual assault in a culture
that too often inadvertently supports
it. Because a little thing you do to
check in with someone else could be
the big thing that prevents a lot of
trauma. And because sexual assault is
everyone’s problem.
Sexual violence occurs on a
spectrum, from intimidating cat calls
to groping or unwanted touching to
Think of your sister, your mom, your
girlfriend, or one of your good friends
in a sexually violent situation. What
if someone watched or knew it was
happening and did nothing to stop
it? How would you feel? Do you want
to be that kind of person?
When we don’t speak up,
we support a culture that
lets perpetrators get away
with sexual violence.
Getting involved doesn’t have to
be, and ideally shouldn’t be, a big
What you can do:
Register your lack of approval for harassment
or sexist comments by walking away from the
offensive person or group.
Offer your presence. If you see that a woman
is being targeted, simply stand near her so
that she and the perpetrator know she’s not
Take action if there is a threat of immediate
danger by getting an authority figure, from a
bartender or bouncer, to even calling security
or the police.
Speak up if someone’s making derogatory
jokes about anyone, especially women.
To defuse a potential situation, distract the
couple or take one person aside. Ask the
potential perpetrator for the time, or anything
that would momentarily break his focus from
the target.
Talk to the girl at some point and ask, “Is
he bothering you?”, “Are you okay?” – if the
woman says she would like your help, do
what you can to assist. If she does not need
your help, respect this and move on.
Knock on or open the door and ask if
everything is alright. Interrupting a seemingly
harmless situation is better than standing
around while a sexual assault takes place.
It takes some guts to be the kind of
person who will intervene. But at least
you’ve started the conversation. All it
takes is one person.
When intervening in a situation, it’s
important to reference the behavior you
are concerned about, but do not judge
the potential perpetrator as a human
being. The purpose of your intervention
is to acknowledge that their actions/
behaviors/statements are not acceptable
and should not be repeated.
It’s not a bad thing to want to make sure people are
safe. However, men often make the mistake of assuming
that women need the help of men. Sometimes
women would appreciate some help, other times it’s
Notice the event along a continuum of actions. (Is
the event healthy, mutually respectful & safe, or is it
potentially violent or sexually abusive?)
Always consider whether the situation demands your
action. (Are your actions desired and necessary?)
Decide if you have a responsibility to act. (Would
inaction lead to a dangerous or unhealthy situation?)
Choose what form of assistance to use. (Gauge
your surroundings and recognize what type of
intervention is necessary.)
Understand how to implement a choice safely. (It is
important that you are out of harm’s way as well.)

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