Bystander intervention is one of the most effective ways to interrupt a potential 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 previous survey, of the four percent of Junior Enlisted respondents who observed a high risk situation that they believed was or could have led to sexual assault, 86 percent 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:  Call it like you see it. Point out threatening or inappropriate behavior in a safe, respectful manner.  Example- “Hey, that joke was demeaning to women and not funny.  We don’t do that kind of thing here,” or “He said he didn’t want to leave with you, back off.”

Distract:  Draw away or divert attention. Make up an excuse to help the friend get away from someone who might pose danger.  Example- Ask you friend to go to the bathroom or somewhere else with you, ask your friend to help you with getting food, or ask your friend to come see something new that you just bought.

Delegate:  Appoint someone else to help intervene. Example- Get someone who has had too much to drink an Uber and have a trusted friend or roommate help them to get home or ask a friend of the person being inappropriate to tell them to stop.

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

STEP UP to help someone who appears uncomfortable, is receiving unwanted attention, is being harassed, or being sexually assaulted.

STEP UP to stop friends or others when they are doing something inappropriate before it escalates into something worse.

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.

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

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