Stepping in / Taking action - Bystander intervention keeps the community safe:
- Support and demonstrate healthy behaviors in your community: communication, respect and consent.
- Look for signs that someone is disrespectful of other’s boundaries before an assault occurs: coercive, pressuring or aggressive behaviors are examples.
- Speak up about acceptable and unacceptable behavior, take action to prevent violence, and report it when it does occur.
- If something doesn’t feel right, say something and intervene.
- Use the “three D’s” as a guide:
- Direct: Assess whether it is safe to intervene.
- Delegate: Call for help.
- Distract: Make some noise after you’ve sent for him.
Sexual Violence Prevention Strategies
Sexual violence cannot always be prevented, but there are ways to protect yourself, and lower your risk of sexual violence. Check out these tips, courtesy of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network):
Avoiding dangerous situations
- Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where and who is around you can assist you in avoiding a dangerous situation.
- Try to avoid isolated areas. It is difficult to seek help when there is no one around you.
- Walk with a purpose. Even if you do not know where you are heading, act as if you do.
- Trust your instincts. If a location or a situation feels uncomfortable or unsafe, leave.
Getting out of an uncomfortable situation
- Be true to yourself. Don't feel obligated to do anything you don't want to do. Do what feels right to you and what you are comfortable with.
- Lie. If you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse.
- Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors? Windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?
- If you and/or the other person have been drinking, say that you would rather wait until you both have your full judgment before doing anything you may regret later.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has trained advocates who are available 24/7 to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.
911rape provides support for sexual assault victims, is a safe and anonymous way to learn how to get help after a sexual assault, and provides information and resources to educate the public about rape and sexual assault.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country, and also operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense.
To learn more, be sure to check out these Promoting Awareness and Wellness (PAWs) articles; they feature conversations with professionals who have made it their personal mission to promote equality, and increase awareness around gender equality.