Not on Our Grounds

A University of Virginia Initiative to End Sexual Violence

Bystander Intervention

Bystanders are individuals who witness emergencies, criminal events, or unsafe situations and by their presence may have the opportunity to provide assistance. At UVa, we hope that these individuals choose to become active bystanders to influence the situation in a positive way. Sexual violence can be prevented and each of us have the potential to contribute (see #HOOSGotYourBack).

What can active bystanders do to have each other’s backs in our community?

There are a lot of theories about why people DON’T intervene*:

  • They believe that someone else will do it;
  • They’re afraid of being embarrassed if they make a mistake;
  • They’re not sure if it’s an urgent situation, so they look around to see what other folks do;
  • They think the other person is responsible for their own fate;
  • If they see someone else helping, they’re more likely to help, too.

There are all sorts of personal reasons not to get involved: peer pressure, values, cultural morals, and more. Can you think of some reasons that might get in the way for you? We all have them. The challenge is to know what they are and then figure out how to work around them, if we can. Being an active bystander isn’t as difficult as you might think!

*Courtesy of Green Dot etc.