The only person responsible for committing sexual assault is a perpetrator, but all of us have the ability to look out for each other’s safety. Whether it’s giving someone a safe ride home from a party or directly confronting a person who is engaging in inappropriate behavior, each of us can make a difference in ending sexual misconduct on campus and in our communities.
BYU encourages all members of the campus community to be engaged bystanders—persons who intervene in a positive way before, during, or after a situation or event in which they see or hear behaviors that promote sexual misconduct in any of its forms. A bystander is a person who is present when an event takes place but isn’t directly involved. Bystanders might be present when sexual assault or abuse occurs—or they could witness the circumstances that lead up to these crimes. Through positive bystander intervention you can make a difference in other people’s lives.
Bystander intervention includes recognizing situations of potential harm, understanding institutional structures and cultural conditions that facilitate violence, and overcoming barriers to intervening. It's important to be aware of what's going on around you and behavior that seems out-of-place or concerning. We can all make the decision that we have a responsibility to help when we observe trouble and then choose positive and safe ways to intervene.
There is no single “right” way to intervene, and what is appropriate depends on the situation and the individuals involved. Here are four basic steps you can take to be an engaged bystander when a harmful event is occurring. All it takes is for you to C.A.R.E.!
Do what you can to interrupt the situation. A distraction can give the person at risk a chance to get to a safe place.
Talk directly to the person who might be in trouble.
Sometimes the safest way to intervene is to refer to a neutral party with the authority to change the situation, like an RA or security guard.
It can be intimidating to approach a situation alone. Enlist another person to support you.