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How to be an Active Bystander

You have the power to prevent sexual violence. If you witness an escalating situation, remember the five D’s: 

  • Distract by changing the subject or creating a diversion. Deescalate by using an excuse to get one or some of the people involved away from the situation.
  • Delegate. Have a friend back you up, or ask someone with more authority to get involved, like a teacher, a parent, or an older sibling.
  • Delayed response still matters. If you saw someone getting harassed but weren’t able to intervene in time, you can still offer support. Ask them if they want to talk about it and offer to go with them to report it.
  • Document after you determine no one is in active danger. Give the video or photos to the person being harassed and let them decide what to do from there.
  • Directly call out the harassment. Be firm and clear, but remain calm and respectful. If the situation is already tense, escalating it by using this method may make it worse, so use your best judgment. 

Download The Rowan Center’s Bystander Intervention Poster