There may be times when your friends say and do things that you’re not cool with. Whether it’s a friend joking that you “raped” him in a video game, a comment that someone’s outfit is “asking for it,” or trying to go home with someone who is too drunk to consent, sometimes people we care about cross the line. When it happens, be prepared and know what to say. By speaking up, you can make a difference and help end sexual violence in all its forms.
Sexual assault doesn’t always look like what you see on TV. Sexual violence takes many forms, and can be either obvious or subtle. While some perpetrators use force, others use coercion to manipulate their victims to do things they don’t want to do. Perpetrators of sexual assault don’t “look a certain way” and can be any gender or sexual orientation. Behaviors that aren’t necessarily considered rape or sexual assault can also lead to more serious and violent offenses.
Standing up for someone when you see that they are being mistreated isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it is the RIGHT thing to do. So, how can you help others while keeping yourself safe?Have a plan.
Talk to your friends about it. Would they want you to intervene if they were in a weird situation? Discuss different situations and the appropriate actions. Come up with a plan together.Be alert.
Identify situations where you feel someone may be in trouble. You might see that someone has had too much to drink at a party, or you could overhear inappropriate comments being directed at someone.Speak up. Speak out.
Walk up and intervene. Respectfully ask that the offender stop the behavior. You can approach as a friend but be honest and to the point. If you want, you can explain to them why it’s wrong.Distract
Use a diversion to stop the behavior. Walk up and ask for directions or ask for the time. If it’s someone you know, talk about something that you have in common with them. If you’re at a loud or dark party, you can “accidentally” turn all of the lights on or shut off the music.Delegate
Ask a friend to step in, use the buddy system, or call someone who’s an authority. Resident Assistants (RAs), campus safety, or police are all available to help you stop the behavior.