Bystander intervention tips for spring break

National Conversations

Situation 1: An acquaintance is being too insistent on buying your friend a drink. The acquaintance keeps popping up around your friend while at the bar, leaving the bathroom, and on the dance floor.

Bystander Intervention Tip: According state and federal law, sexual assault can take many forms including Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment, Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Exploitation, Nonconsensual Sexual Contact, Nonconsensual Sexual Penetration, and Stalking.

Situation 2: You and your friend made plans to leave a party together, but before it’s over they suddenly announce that they will be Ubering home alone.

Bystander Intervention Tip: Part of being a good bystander is having a sense of responsibility towards others and their safety. Consider asking your friend if you can check in on them later to make sure they’re home safe.

Situation 3: Someone discloses to you that they think they were sexually assaulted while at a party last night.

Bystander Intervention Tip: The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) advises to avoid blaming the victim or judging them. If someone discloses their experiences with sexual assault to you, they probably trust you. Honor their trust.

Situation 4: You see someone (who is not a bartender) pour something in a drink.

Bystander Intervention Tip: Call out what you saw. Make sure that no one drinks it without knowing that there is a mysterious substance placed in the drink. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Women’s Health explains that common date rape drugs, which can cause drowsiness, problems seeing, and memory loss come in a variety of forms. For example, Rohypnol usually takes the form of a dissolvable pill, while GHB and Ketamine can take the form of a liquid or powder.

Situation 5: You see minors hanging around adults-only venues like a bar.

Bystander Intervention Tip: Trust your gut. If something seems wrong, it probably is. Alert the authorities. The United Nations’ International Labor Organization reports approx. 20.9 million people are victims of human trafficking, which includes sex and labor slaves.


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