Sexual violence occurs on a spectrum, from seemingly harmless catcalls
directed at women on the street, to date and acquaintance rape, to gang rape at
gunpoint. To the degree that we "let" the little things happen
without saying anything, we tacitly support a sexually violent culture. When
we don't think our speaking up counts for anything, we contribute to an
environment that lets perpetrators get away with it.
Think of your sister, your mom, your girlfriend or one of your good
friends in a sexually violent situation. What if someone watched or
knew it was happening and did nothing to stop it? How would you feel?
Getting involved doesn't have to be (and ideally shouldn't
be) a big production. Small interventions can make a big
difference in a questionable situation. Just distracting someone, saying
something, checking in with a person can stop the momentum of something bad.
And if it wasn't going that direction in the first place, it's certainly not
going to hurt to check in.
You always have more than one option as a bystander. Even in your regular life you can help prevent sexual assault without doing
a whole lot. You can:
Speak up if someone's putting down women.
Offer to drive your friend(s) home from a
Pair up with your friends at parties to keep
an eye on each other.
Talk to a guy who mistreats women and suggest
he get help.
If you're in a situation in which you see something weird happening,
Distract the couple in order to diffuse the
Take one person aside and distract him.
Offer to call a cab for one of the people.
Track down a friend of one of the people and
have him or her check on the friend.
Knock on the door.
Directly ask one of the people what's going
on. (If it's a guy and a girl, it's a good idea to ask the girl away from
Shout something so everybody hears, like,
"Hey, what are you doing? Leave her alone!" and stick around to
make sure the situation has cooled down.
Talk to the girl at some point and let her
know you saw what was going on and that you're willing to help her.
Open the door and ask if everything's cool.
Interrupting an okay scene is better than standing around while a rape
24-hour helpline: (503) 842-9486 or toll free in Oregon 1 (800) 992-1679
Tillamook County Women's Resource Center, 1902 2nd Street, Tillamook, OR 97141 (503) 842-9486 ♦ 1-800-992-1679 ♦ TTY 1-800-877-8973 Office Hours: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday