Title IX

  • Bystander Intervention

    Every person can have an impact in preventing sexual assault and relationship violence. Each of us can send a clear message that it will not be tolerated, downplayed, or joked about, and that we, as a community, will react decisively if it does happen. We can talk about sexual assault and relationship violence and teach others that it is never OK. We also can continue to educate ourselves and others about the issues, starting with reviewing the following:
     

  • Action Items

    Know that sexual assault occurs in our communities and that we can shape safe and supportive communities through our actions.

    • Be willing to speak up in difficult situations.
    • Ask the person if they need help.
    • Defuse the situation through humor or distraction.
    • Be direct and tell someone if their behavior is out of line.
    • Do not assume that just because no one else speaks up, that everyone else is fine with what's happening.
    • If you step up and speak out, others will likely back you up.
    • Discuss the issues of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking with friends or share information and resources through social media.
    • Be conscious of your use of language and choose words carefully. Cultural messages have the ability to support or discourage violence.
    • Challenge societal messages about what it means to be a man or a woman and show appreciation when someone challenges gender stereotypes.
    • Be aware of, and refuse to use, sexist, homophobic, and demeaning language.
    • 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 what you value and make it clear to friends and family. Seeking out these positive traits in others allows you to identify and build healthy relationships.
    • Share positive messages with friends and family.
    • Communicate with your own partner about physical/sexual wants and boundaries.
    • Remember that it's never too early or too late to do something.
    Indications a Sexual Assault May Occur

    You may find yourself in a situation during which you notice one or more of the following indications that a sexual assault is about to happen or being planned:

    • A person has declared that they are intent on engaging in sexual activity with someone regardless of the status of the other person's knowledge or consent.
    • Someone has been pressured or encouraged to engage in sexual activity with as many people or as frequently as possible.
    • A person is providing excessive amounts of alcohol to someone with an intent to engage in sexual activity.
    • A person is about to engage in sexual activity with someone who is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.
    • It appears that one party may be blacking out or unaware of their current situation.
    Identifying Relationship Violence

    One of your friends or family members may be in a violent relationship. Or, you may be. The following are signs of relationship violence that may help you help someone—or yourself—get out of this situation:

    • Insults, humiliating language or putting the person down in front of others
    • Explosive temper, mood swings, or verbal abuse
    • Jealousy or possessiveness
    • Stalking behaviors such as following, watching from a distance, and unwanted or excessive communication
    • Invasion of privacy or obsessive tracking of the person's activities
    • Doesn't seem to care about what their partner wants
    • Fear of displeasing partner
    • Spending less time with friends
    • Physical assault such as slapping, hitting, and punching
    Helping a Survivor

    Do you suspect that a friend or family member is in an abusive relationship? Talking about it can be difficult. Ultimately, only your friend or loved one can be the one to end the situation. But you can be supportive during this turbulent time in their life by following these tips: 

    • Listen carefully, without judgment.
    • Do not blame. Believe the victim and make it clear the fault lies only with the abuser.
    • Offer a safe place to stay.
    • Let the survivor make decisions about next steps. All control has been stripped from the victim during the assault. Allow the victim to make decisions about what steps to take next.
    • Assist in getting the treatment/services they need if they agree.
    • Remain calm. You might feel shock or rage, but expressing these emotions to the victim may cause the victim more trauma.
    • Encourage medical attention and counseling.
    • Refer them to the resources and reporting information available on the SHAPE website.

    It also is important that you seek help yourself. It will help you keep things in perspective and give you inner strength to continue helping your friend or loved one.