What is a Bystander?
A bystander is a person who observes a conflict or unacceptable behavior. The observed behavior may be serious or minor, one-time or repeated, but the bystander knows that the behavior is harmful or likely to make a situation worse. This person may be in a position to discourage, prevent or interrupt unacceptable behavior. The bystander has two options: to remain a passive bystander or become an active bystander. A passive bystander is one who observes but does not intervene in any way.
How Can I become an Active Bystander?
Steps to becoming an Active Bystander:
- Notice a situation that is out of the ordinary . Does your "gut" tell you something is wrong?
- Ask yourself "Could I play a role here?"
- If no one intervenes, what will likely happen?
- Is someone else better equipped to respond?
- What would be my purpose in responding?
- Assess your options for providing help . Use your words; don’t use violence to end violence.
- Determine the potential risk(s) of taking action
- Are there risks to myself and/or others?
- Is there a low-risk option?
- How could I reduce risks?
- Determine how to implement your choice(s) safely
Our colleagues at Arizona State University have developed a Bystander Intervention Program which provides useful intervention strategies.
Also, check out this video on Bystander Intervention created by American University.
[Trigger Warning: Sexual Violence, Substance Abuse, Hazing, Relationship Violence]