We ask that every member of the SMC community do their part in preventing sexual violence on our campus. Each individual should do what they can to safely prevent sexual violence whenever they have the opportunity. The term for this is “Active Bystander”. When an act of sexual violence takes place, it is likely that somebody will have the chance to intervene before the situation takes place. While the responsibility still falls on the perpetrator to not commit the crime, being an Active Bystander can help stop somebody from being victimized.
Steps to Being an Active Bystander
- Be aware of your surroundings. You can often tell when a person is in danger. Many times in sexual violence situations, bystanders were able to see that something was not right.
- Recognize it as a problem. As you are active in your surroundings, keep an eye open for behaviors that you recognize to be a problem. Some example potential issues are:
- An intoxicated person being separated from a group that they are a part of.
- A person talking about another person at a party as an object or a conquest. This person may use phrases such as “I’m getting lucky tonight no matter what” or “I’m going to go get me a piece of that”.
- Feel Responsible to Act. Each individual must accept the fact that it is his responsibility to act. Many times people feel that somebody else will take care of it. When everybody is responsible, nobody is responsible. It is up to each person to take responsibility and react to situations they see.
- Make a plan. Be aware of the different options to intervene. Once you take a look at the situation, determine the best course of action to prevent the act.
- Safely Intervene. Take action and stand up for the safety of others. When you take action, please make sure not to place yourself in unnecessary danger.
Ways to Intervene as an Active Bystander
While there are infinite ways that you could intervene, we would like to point out a few options to consider when planning to intervene:
- Tell another person. There is safety in numbers. If you have somebody else in the know they can help support your plans.
- Talk directly to the victim. This will both give them an ear to listen and also give them an option out of the current situation.
- Help remove the potential victim from the situation. Help make sure the person leaves the situation and gets home safely.
- Call 911 or get somebody in authority. Contact local police, housing staff or campus security to help with the situation.
- Distract the potential perpetrator. If you know the potential perpetrator, you may be able to talk with them directly. You could also try to distract them or change their direction. Another example would be to “accidently” spill a drink if you see that it has been drugged.
While it is solely the responsibility of the perpetrator to not commit the act of sexual violence, we do ask that members of the SMC community take reasonable steps to lower their risk of being a victim. These steps include:
- Have a plan. Before going out for the evening, make a plan. Will you be drinking? Do you plan on having sex? Who will you be hanging out with? How do they know that you want to be an active participant in a sexual situation?
- Safety in numbers. If possible, go out as a group and come home as a group. Watch out for each other and make sure no friend gets left behind.
- Intervene for each other. If you see something, say something. Be sure to be an Active Bystander with the group that you are in.
- Trust your gut. Most females are able to identify that a situation is not right. Trust that instinct. If something does not feel right, get your group out of there if possible.
- Keep an eye on your drink. Never leave a drink unattended or with a person that you have just met. Do not accept drinks that you did not see being made. Also avoid community alcohol (such as Jungle Juice) especially if not everyone is drinking from it.
SMC requires active consent from all participants in any sexual act. Active consent means that participants must say yes. It is not just the idea that “No means No” but more importantly focuses on the idea that “Yes means Yes”. Additionally, consent for one sexual act does not mean consent for any other act. You must consent to each individual act.
You have the right to give or withhold consent at any time. The only time you cannot give consent is when you are intoxicated or otherwise incapacitated. Once this happens, consent cannot be given. Once you give consent, you may withdraw your consent.
You always have the right to say no even if:
- You’ve been drinking
- You’ve been flirting
- You’ve been making out
- You’ve had sex with the person before
- You said “Yes” then changed your mind