Why Should I Get Involved?

Getting involved helps prevent sexual assault. A little thing you do to check in with someone else could be the big thing that saved them a lot of trauma. Sexual assault is everyone’s problem (that means both women and men).

Think of your sister, your mom, your girlfriend, or one of your good friends in a sexually violent situation. What if someone watched or knew it was happening and did nothing to stop it? How would you feel?

You always have more than one option as a bystander:

  • Be aware of your own safety; consider whether the situation demands some action.
  • Listen and be open to a victim seeking help.
  • You can take one person aside and distract them.
  • Or directly ask one of the people what’s going on (If it’s a guy and a girl, it’s a good idea to ask the girl away from the guy.)
  • You could shout something so everybody hears, like, “Hey, what are you doing? Leave her alone!” and stick around to make sure the situation has cooled down.
  • Open the door and ask if everything’s cool. Interrupting an okay scene is better than standing around while a rape takes place.
  • Use your cell phone (or any phone) to contact 9-1-1

Of course it can be awkward to intervene; there’s always the risk of being a little embarrassed. You might tell yourself that you’re overreacting, or that it’s not your business. You might also fear that you are the only one who will speak up or that you’ll end up in a fight.

It takes some character and some guts to be the kind of person who will intervene. But at least you’ve started the conversation. All it takes is one person.