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Bystander Intervention

What is a bystander?

A bystander is someone other than the victim who is present when an incident of discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct is occurring, or when a situation is occurring in which a reasonable person feels as though some protective action is required to prevent such action form happening. Bystanders, if active, can prevent harm or intervene with safe and positive options before a situation escalates. Everyone can do something to help keep our campus safe!

What can you do?

Safe@Weber encourages potential bystanders to CARE: create a distraction, ask directly, refer to an authority, and/or enlist others. Everyone has the ability to do something to assist another. Active bystanders observe their environments, notice when something is not okay, and assume responsibility that they can intervene for the better. Bystanders who choose to CARE might employ one or all of the following: 

  • Create a Distraction: Can you create an appropriate distraction to stop the behavior? Maybe you can pretend to be lost, ask for the time, make a commotion, spill your beverage; anything to create an interruption. 
  • Ask Directly: If it’s safe, tell the perpetrator of the harmful behavior that’s it’s not appropriate. This could be explaining why a racist or sexist joke is inappropriate, or why you don’t agree with their behavior. It’s also important to follow-up with the person impacted, to see how they’re feeling about the incident and what they would like to do next. 
  • Refer to An Authority: There are times when it is appropriate to refer to an authority, especially when weapons or threats of violence are involved. On campus, you can call Weber State Police (911 or 801-626-6460). 
  • Enlist Others: Are there others around that can become involved and prevent the behavior from escalating? Can trusted individuals (friends, supervisors, professors) help you in de-escalating the situation? Ask them for help!

Bystanders are never obligated to put themselves in harm’s way or intervene in a way that feels unsafe for them, the victim/survivor, or others around them. Learn more by scheduling a Safe@Weber workshop or visiting the Women’s Center in Shepherd Union 323.