Intervening on behalf of a potential sexual assault victim is on of the most impactful things we can do to reduce the incidence of sexual assault. Putting this into practice means becoming highly aware of what’s going on around you; listening for any comments involving forcing someone to have sex or hoping to have sex with an incapacitated person. As a bystander, a good rule of thumb is to always listen to your gut – if something seems “off” then it probably is. Be the one who trusts that instinct and stands up for a fellow student in their time of need.
Step UP! is a comprehensive bystander intervention program that teaches students how to intervene if they suspect a sexual assault may be about to happen. It also offers bystander intervention for other areas including depression, hazing, anger, alcohol and disordered eating. We love this program and want to share the 6 Step UP! action steps for preventing sexual assault:
- Be aware of comments and behaviors from others that would indicate they were intent on having sexual intercourse even if the partner was unwilling.
- Notice if someone is getting ready to have sexual intercourse with a partner who is incapacitated.
- Don’t pressure or encourage friends to drink or have sex as often or with as many people as possible.
- Don’t joke about sexual assault; comments and jokes that are meant to “ease the tension” or are “just kidding around” can trivialize the severity of the behavior.
- Know your level of comfort with conversations and talk about sexual behavior. If you find groups or individuals who talk about sexual relationships that are not in sync with how you feel, or the type of relationship you want, don’t be afraid to state your position.
- Many perpetrators are unaware that what they have done is a crime. (They may say, “Yeah, that was messed up, but it was fun.”) Let them know that what they did was not right and was against the law.
#actionFORGOOD #impactFORGOOD #compel action