Bystander Intervention

Bystander Intervention is recognizing a potentially harmful situation such as sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, racial, homophobic, or transphobic slurs/actions/interactions and choosing to respond in a safe way that could help the potential victim(s). 

Recognizing a Potentially Harmful Situation:

If you’re unsure what to look for, it might be difficult to spot a potentially harmful situation. Below are some things to lookout for: 

Body Language– Is the potential victim leaning away, pushing the other party away or just appears uncomfortable? 

Raised voices– Do you hear yelling, screaming, banging or other alarming sounds? 

Intoxication– Is the person stumbling, swaying, unable to communicate, being forced to drink, or otherwise unable to consent to what is happening? 

The Golden Rule– If you placed the person you love most into the potential victims place, would you intervene? Trust that instinct or gut feeling. 

The 3 D’s are an easy way to utilize bystander intervention. 


Directly intervene by saying or doing something. 

Examples: “That’s not okay!”

                  “Stop doing that!”

                  “Are you okay?”

                  “Can I help you?”

                   Physically separating the people.

                   Remove either party from the situation. 


If you don’t feel safe or comfortable directly intervening, delegate to someone else.


Examples: Police (911)

                  Party Host



                  Group of Individuals

                  A Friend(s)

                  Authority Figure 

                  Other Bystander(s)


Cause a distraction to defuse the situation or allow the two parties to be separated. 

Examples: “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” 

                   “Your car is getting towed!”

                    “You left ___ in the other room.”

                    Spill a drink.

                    Set off an alarm.

                    Honk a car horn.

                    Make a scene. 

                   Pretend like you know the person having the potential harm done to them.


Help Change Campus Norms to:

1. Violence is never okay and will not be tolerated.

2. Everyone needs to do their part to help. 


Here’s how:

Educate others about bystander intervention.

Speak out if you hear opposing thoughts. 

Encourage bystander intervention and denounce violence by: 

  • Wearing a pin, or button. (Pick one up in the WAVE office)
  • Hanging up a poster at your dorm or office. (Download Here)
  • Posting on social media.