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Bystander Intervention

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Become an Active Bystander

Bystanders are people who witness sexual violence, abuse, or stalking, or have reason to believe that such a crime has taken or will take place. Bystanders are, in fact, the largest group of people involved in these crimes, greatly outnumbering both perpetrators and victims. They often have the power to stop assaults from occurring and to get help for people who have been victimized.

Intervening can be difficult, however. Even when a bystander encounters an abuser or a victim of abuse, they may not believe they can do anything to help. Many bystanders ignore the situation because they do not want to get involved, or fail to report the situation because they are afraid of retaliation. “What if I’m wrong,” many wonder.

At Brookdale, we take reports of abuse and sexual crimes very seriously. We work hard to protect the confidentiality of those involved, and we thoroughly investigate claims before rendering judgment. There are also multiple ways to leave anonymous tips. When in doubt, speak up.

Our goal is to create a culture of active bystanders at Brookdale, all of whom are actively engaged in the prevention of violence and working to create a better world for themselves and their fellow Brookdalians.



Options for Bystander Intervention:


  • Bystanders can engage in safe and positive actions to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • Possible actions include recognizing situations of potential harm, raising awareness for conditions that lead to violence and abuse, overcoming barriers for victims and bystanders and identifying safe and effective intervention options.
  • If someone discloses a sexual assault, abusive relationship, or experience with stalking to, you can start by believing them.
  • If you see someone on or off campus who looks like they are in trouble, ask if they are okay. If you are afraid to interfere with the situation, call that person over for something very general (“Can I speak to you about the homework from the other day?”).
  • If you see a colleague, student, or friend doing something harmful, speak up. If someone says something offensive, derogatory, or abusive, let them know that the behavior is wrong and you don’t want to be around it. Don’t laugh at sexist, racist, or homophobic jokes.
  • Be respectful of yourself and others. Before initiating any sexual act with your partner, make sure it’s OK.
  • Before intervening, always make sure you can do so safely.