Bystanders Step Up

Have you ever witnessed something that made you feel uncomfortable? Did you want to say something or step up and offer help, but did not?

You’re not alone!

SU Step Up AWAREness Program

SU’s Step Up AWAREness Program is designed to help students learn how to safely step in and offer help or step out and get help for an individual in need. Together we can maintain a safer campus community!

Five Steps to Be an Active Bystander

1. Notice the event.

It is extremely easy to miss something that you’re not looking for. Students are busy people! You can be distracted by social media, friends, homework, etc. Sometimes we aren’t aware of our surroundings or just don’t want to notice something that appears to be wrong.

In order to create a safer campus community, all of us must be aware of what is going on around us.

2. Interpret the event as a problem.

We also have to fight the temptation to conform. We all are exposed to peer pressure. Sometimes we look to see what an authority is doing, like the president of your student organization. Other times we see what the people around us are doing. If no one else steps in to offer help, we assume that we shouldn’t either. This can be hard to fight, but we can create a safer campus community if we take responsibility for our SU family.

3. Assume personal responsibility.

Research shows that if you are alone you will help 80 percent of the time, but if you are in a group you will help only 20 percent of the time because of diffusion or responsibility (you think someone else will do something). You can take personal responsibility and be the first person to step up.

4. Know how to help.

Anyone can be an active bystander, and you should never put yourself in danger, but in most situations, there is something that you can do to help. Below are ways in which you can help.

  • Look for exit strategies to get you and others out of the situation.
  • Be clear and direct with your requests. Make safe choices.
  • Understand your boundaries and limits as a helper.
  • Engage other bystanders to help.
  • Know campus and community resources.

5. Step Up! and offer help.

For many people, step five can be the hardest part of being an active bystander. Often times we know something is wrong, may know how to help, may want to help, but we just decide not to. In such situations, you must consider the cost of not stepping up.

When it’s time for you to step in and offer help or step out and get help, you should:

  • Carefully consider the situation before taking any action.
  • Step up early before the problem becomes a crisis or disaster.
  • Know your limits! This means walking away when it is unsafe and calling someone else to help, maybe the police.

For more information on being an active bystander, you can schedule a meeting with a Title IX Officer.

If you or someone you know experiences violence, you’re not alone. Help is available by reviewing our list of Sexual Assault Awareness Resources and Contacts.