What is an Active Bystander?
- Every day we witness many things (both good and not so good). This makes us all bystanders.
- We also make decisions about how to respond to what we see. Our choices can turn us into active bystanders.
- An active bystander witnesses an act that is harmful (such as name-calling, derogatory joke-telling, rumors, property damage or physical violence) or potentially harmful (such as “hitting on” someone who is too drunk or otherwise incapacitated to consent) and doesn’t just passively observe or walk away.
- An active bystander DOES SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
Why is it important to act?
Taking action early – before a situation escalates – can be effective and safer for everyone involved.
When we take action, we …
- positively impact not only the people experiencing, but also those committing a harmful act.
- help give others the confidence to speak up or act.
- contribute to creating a community where people care about and help each other.
- improve our own lives by supporting a culture that values healthy relationships and offers help when needed.
When we …
- stay silent
- do nothing
- look the other way
- say, “It’s none of my business”
- think, “someone else will deal with it”
… we support hurtful behavior and unequal treatment.
…we participate in a system that allows violence, discrimination and suffering.