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Bystander Intervention Strategies

Dean of Students

Help Make the Difference!

(ADAPTED FROM MEN CAN STOP RAPE, HTTP://WWW.MENCANSTOPRAPE.ORG, 2006)

"I" STATEMENTS

Three parts:

  1. State your feelings,
  2. Name the behavior,
  3. State how you want the person to respond. This focuses on your feelings rather than criticizing the other person.

    Example: "I feel ________ when you __________ . Please don't do that anymore."

SILENT STARE

  • Remember, you don't have to speak to communicate.
  • Sometimes a disapproving look can be far more powerful than words.

HUMOR

  • Reduces the tension of an intervention and makes it easier for the person to hear you.
  • Do not undermine what you say with too much humor. Funny doesn't mean unimportant.

GROUP INTERVENTION

  • There is safety and power in numbers.
  • Best used with someone who has a clear pattern of inappropriate behavior where many examples can be presented as evidence of his problem.

BRING IT HOME

  • Prevents someone from distancing himself from the impact of his actions.
    • Example: "I hope no one ever talks about you like that."
  • Prevents someone from dehumanizing his targets.
    • Example: What if someone said your girlfriend deserved to be raped or called your mother a whore?" We're friends, right….?
  • Reframes the intervention as caring and non-critical.
    • Example: "Hey Chad…..as your friend I've gotta tell you that getting a girl drunk to have sex with her isn't cool, and could get you in a lot of trouble. Don't do it."

DISTRACTION

  • Snaps someone out of their "sexist comfort zone."
    • Example: Ask a man harassing a woman on the street for directions or the time.
  • Allows a potential target to move away and/or to have other friends intervene.
    • Example: Spill your drink on the person or interrupt and start a conversation with the person.

(Information adapted to Barry University with the permission of the Women's Center at the University of Virginia Tech)

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