Preventing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking

The best way to prevent sexual and relationship violence from occurring in our campus community is to commit to the following guiding values:

  1. Violence is not tolerated on our campus
  2. Everyone is expected to do their part to reduce violence on our campus

No one has to do everything, but everyone in our community must do something. The "something" we must all commit to is engaging in bystander moments, no matter how small. Every bystander moment counts when we are working to reduce violence. 

Bystander moments occur when we are cued in to the potential for violence. We might see someone intentionally trying to get someone else drunk, isolating someone into another room, or recognize power differences like age. When we notice these cues it is important to make the choice to act because even the smallest action can prevent violence.

There are three types of bystander intervention we can choose to act out on campus:

Direct: these bystander moments involve directly talking to someone or intervening in a situation. It could mean saying to a friend, "Hey, you've been pretty hard to reach lately, is everything ok?" or stepping in to take an intoxicated friend back to their residence hall. Direct bystander moments can also be watching a friend's drink for them while they are in the bathroom or speaking up if someone uses the term rape in a joke or to in contexts other than a serious discussion of sexual violence. 

Delegate: these moments are all about getting others involved. Delegating in a bystander moment could mean calling the Department of Public Safety or 911 for help, asking a friend to assist you in finding a ride for a friend, or asking the host of a party to ask someone to leave. 

Distract: these moments use a distraction to interrupt precursors to violence to prevent a harmful situation from ever occurring. Distractions could include spilling a drink, singing loudly, or telling someone that their car is getting towed.


Bystander moments for those who aren't sure they care

  • Ask 5 people in your life how sexual or relationship violence has impacted them (directly or indirectly) and listen to their response.
  • Think about the women in your life that you care most about, and consider that they have 1 in 3 odds of becoming victims of violence in their lifetime.
  • Tell one person how you would feel if she did become a victim.
  • Educate yourself about the impact of violence on victims and those who love them.
  • Talk to all the other students who do care. Ask them to tell you why they are into it.

Proactive bystander moments (before there are cues)

  • Send a mass email to your contact list with a simple message, "This issue is important to me and I believe in the goal of reducing violence."
  • Change your email signature line to include the statement,
  • Make a donation to a local rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter 
  • Next time you are walking to class with a friend, have one conversation and tell them that ending violence matters to you.
  • Put a MiddSafe sticker on your door, computer, or water bottle and talk about why you care about this issue when someone asks what it is
  • Make bystander intervention or sexual violence on campus the topic of a paper or speech you have to do for a class.
  • Bring a friend to an awareness event.
  • Volunteer for one hour, and bring a friend.
  • Request a presentation from your local (WomenSafe) or campus (MiddSafe) violence prevention program.
  • Write a letter to the editor of the Campus talking about any aspect of sexual or relationship violence that is most powerful to you 
  • Find out how Art and Activism works to end violence. (google it!)
  • I work to ensure organizations I am involved in collaborate with prevention efforts on campus.

Reactive bystander moments (what to do in the moment)

  • If I suspect that my friend has been drugged, I seek professional help.
  • If I saw someone who was intoxicated left behind by her/his friends, I would tell them to take her/him with them.
  • If I suspect that my friend is in an abusive relationship, I ask her/him and provide information about resources available.
  • If I suspect a friend has been sexually assaulted, I let her/him know I am here if they want to talk.
  • If I hear someone yelling and fighting, I call x5911 or 911.
  • If I see someone spike another person's drink, I stop them and call police or get someone else to.
  • If I see a friend grab, push or insult another person, I say something, go get help or get someone else to.
  • If I see a stranger grab, push or insult another person, I say something or go get help or get someone else to.
  • If I see a friend take an intoxicated person up the stairs, I stop and ask what is going on or create a distraction to interrupt the situation.
  • If someone appears upset, I ask if they are okay.
  • If I notice someone has a large bruise, I ask how they were hurt.
  • If I see a person sexually assaulting another person, I intervene.
  • If my professor explains that women "say 'no' when they really mean 'yes'," I interrupt and make an attempt to educate the professor.
  • If I choose to leave a party early, I account for the people I came with.
  • If I see two men dragging a woman into a room, I call for help and intervene.
  • I will offer to watch my friends' drinks when they leave the table.
  • If I know or suspect that a friend is in an abusive relationship (physically, sexually, or emotionally), I tell them they can confide in me.
  • If someone needs my help and I don't have the answer, I tap my resources and find someone who does.
  • I go investigate if I am awakened at night by someone calling for help.
  • If I see someone at a party who has had too much to drink, I ask them if they need to be walked home so they can go to sleep.
  • If a woman is being shoved or yelled at by a man, I ask her if she needs help.
  • If a man is being shoved or harassed by others, I ask him if he needs help.
  • If I hear what sounds like yelling and fighting through my dorm walls I knock on the door to see if everything is ok.
  • If I hear what sounds like yelling or fighting through my dorm or apartment walls, I talk with a residential life staff member or someone else who can help.
  • I will say something to a person whose drink I saw spiked with a drug even if I didn't know them.
  • Grab someone else's cup and pour their drink out if I saw that someone slipped something into it.
  • If I know information about an incident of sexual violence, I tell authorities what I know in case it is helpful.


To learn more about bystander intervention or to get involved in prevention efforts, contact Director of Health and Wellness Education Barbara McCall