Who Are You

When it comes to being a witness of sexual violence, attempted sexual violence, or any behavior that violates Goucher’s community principle of respect, you have a choice. A choice to act or a choice to be passive.

The idea of getting involved can be intimidating, but here are a few ways that you can have a powerful impact in reversing the power dynamics of the situation.

It doesn’t have to be dramatic. It can be as simple as saying, “That’s not cool.”

Some keys to bystander action are*:

Safety in numbers: Identify others who can help you (i.e. friends, party host, CA, police)

“I” statements: “I” statements focus on your feelings rather than criticizing the other person. Include three parts: State your feelings, name the behavior, and state how you would like the other person to respond.

Bring it home: Show someone how they would feel if they or someone they cared about were the target of their behavior (i.e., “I hope no one ever talks about you like that.”)

Be a pal: Reframe the intervention as your attempt to help someone be successful or stay out of trouble (i.e., “As your friend, I have to tell you that the way you treat women at parties is not helping your reputation.”)

Distract: Distraction can keep things from happening, and snap people out of “comfort zone” behavior that comes from sexism, homophobia, or racism.  

*Adapted from Colorado College’s website.

For more information, visit or email greendot@goucher.edu