It’s On Us – Bystander Education

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and each week we will walk through the different sections of the It’s On Us campaign. It’s On Us’s mission is to build the movement to combat sexual assault by engaging young men and changing campus culture.

Bystander Education

To create cultural change on campus, it’s important that the entire campus community is actively addressing issues contributing to sexual violence. Bystander education is a key evidence-based practice that teaches prevention strategies to students, giving them the tools to act as potential bystanders in their communities. 

Bystander Education is… 

 A primary prevention method to encourage responsive bystander behavior to spread the responsibility for safety to the community as a whole. 

A Bystander is anyone who is present when a situation occurs but is not involved directly in it. 

Bystander Intervention is when a bystander takes action to intervene in an act of violence or the acts leading up to the violence.

Diffusion of Responsibility Theory 

People are less likely to take action to intervene if others are present.

Diffusion of Innovation Theory

People are more likely to do something if they see others doing it as well. Someone has to be the campus leader and intervene. As there begin to be more leaders who do this, more people will feel comfortable doing it.


How to DIRECTLY and INDIRECTLY intervene

By stepping in – both directly as well as indirectly – we can make our campuses safer places to be and increase trust in the student body. 

Causing a distraction 

If you witness a risky situation occurring, causing the aggressor to focus on something else, can help the person at risk exit the situation.

Calling for help/authorities 

If a situation looks like it is escalating and may be risky, but you do not feel 100% sure it is safe to intervene, call the police.

For more information on It’s On Us and additional resources, please visit here