What is a Bystander?
A bystander is anyone who observes an emergency or any situation where someone is in need of help. Becoming an active bystander is simply making a decision to get involved and intervene in the situation.
The College is not advocating that people risk their own safety in order to be an active bystander. Remember, there is a range of actions that are appropriate, depending on the situation. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, calling 911 is the best action a bystander can take.
As opposed to being the bystander who stands by and does nothing, WCC wants to create a culture of bystanders who are actively engaged in the prevention of sexual misconduct.
The Power of Bystanders
Have you ever stopped a friend from going home with someone when the friend was drunk or high? Have you ever tried to stop a friend/teammate/peer from taking advantage of someone or doing something else inappropriate? Both of these actions are examples of bystanders using their power to stop sexual misconduct and violence.
What else can bystanders do to make a difference?
- Believe someone who discloses a sexual assault, abusive relationship, or experience with stalking.
- Be respectful of yourself and others. Make sure any sexual act is OK with your partner.
- Watch out for your friends and fellow students – if you see someone who looks like they are in trouble, ask if they are okay. If you see a friend doing something inappropriate, say something.
- Speak up if someone says something offensive, derogatory, or abusive. Let them know that behavior is wrong. Don’t laugh at racist, sexist, and/or homophobic jokes. Challenge your peers to be respectful.
- Get involved – volunteer with a community organization that spreads awareness on safety issues.
Be More than a Bystander
View the WCC PowerPoint presentation on active bystander tips.