Bystander Intervention Can Prevent Sexual Assault

Witnessing an uncomfortable situation where someone is being violated in some way can leave you feeling helpless even if you’re just a bystander. Turns out, if you see a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation, but you don’t know what to do or how to intervene, you are not alone. While this experience of being a helpless bystander is more common than you think, it turns you can make a huge difference. For example, have you ever been hanging out and then noticed a friend was uncomfortable with attention, touching, or a conversation but you didn’t know how to help? Or maybe you’ve been at a party and noticed someone getting unwanted attention, but didn’t know what to say. The average person only helps 20% of the time when they witness a problem situation — mostly because they don’t know how intervene, and have never been taught.

According to the ABS, 17% of women and 4% of men experienced sexual assault since the age of 15 (Australian Bureau of Statistics – Personal Safety Survey, 2012) And the majority of sexual assault is committed by someone a person knows. This makes it all the more important to learn how to intervene whenever possible.

That’s why Think Prevent workshops are focused on teaching simple de-escalation techniques to help bystanders interrupt and de-escalate situations that might be abusive or lead to sexual assault. The techniques can range from sending them a snapchat, creating a distraction, to disrupting a conversation to tell a joke. Our bystander intervention workshops show you how to intervene in uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situations, showing comfortable, simple, and positive ways to disrupt rape culture.


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