Bystander intervention is one of the most effective ways to prevent sexual assault. An active bystander is someone who has the moral courage to find a way to safely intervene to stop a potentially dangerous situation.  In a recent survey, of the 4% of Junior Enlisted respondents who observed a high risk situation that they believed was or could have led to sexual assault, 86% intervened.*

Safety is Your Top Priority

Before jumping into a potentially dangerous situation, be smart and think about your own safety.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How can I keep myself safe in this situation?
  • What are all the options available?
  • Who else might be able to assist me?

Aside from safety in numbers, you may have more influence on the situation when you work together with someone else or even several people.

The 3 "D"s of Bystander Invention

Remember the 3 "D"s in your role as an active bystander: 

  • Direct:  Give commands or orders. 
  • Distract:  Draw away or divert attention.
  • Delegate:  Appoint someone else.

If you master the 3 "D"s, you will be better able to stop an assault when it's time to take action!

Ways to Be an Active Bystander

Here are three ways that you can "step up" to stop sexual assault:

  • STEP UP to help someone who may be a target for sexual assault.
  • STEP UP to stop friends or others from becoming an offender.
  • STEP UP to either stop an assault in progress or intervene before the crime occurs.

Be aware of inappropriate touching, suggestive remarks, attempts to get someone alone, pressuring someone to drink, violent behavior, and targeting someone who is impaired.

Examples of Bystander Intervention

  • Direct: Point out threatening or inappropriate behavior in a safe, respectful manner.
  • Distract: Make up an excuse to help the friend get away from someone who might pose danger.
  • Delegate: Alert a bartender or party host that someone has had too much to drink.

To learn more about the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, click here.

*Source: FY14 Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) Organizational Climate Survey