What is bystander intervention?
Most people care about others and want to live in safe, respectful communities. Most of us have witnessed things that concern us, and even if we don’t know it, we all know survivors of sexual and relationship violence. While we want to do the right thing, social norms that normalize violence often get in the way of us taking meaningful action to prevent and respond to violence. Bystander intervention theory aims to address this by supporting community members in developing the motivation, skills, and confidence to intervene in harmful situations, support survivors, and create accountable social spaces.
What is ActWIse?
UHS’s homegrown bystander intervention program, ActWIse, draws on shared values to help empower people to intervene in potentially harmful situations, support survivors in their lives, and hold people who cause harm accountable. Our workshops focus on self-reflection and group dialogue to build participants’ skills and confidence in recognizing warning signs for violence; intervening in safe, effective, survivor-centered ways; and taking proactive action to create campus communities free of violence.
- Violence is rooted in power, control, and systems of oppression.
- Anyone can experience violence. And, different communities experience differential impacts.
- Anyone can be an active bystander.
- Social norms powerfully influence behavior.
- When we support survivors, we prevent violence.
- Alcohol does not cause violence, but is often weaponized to facilitate it.
- Culture change is a long-term, collective effort. It takes time, community, and stamina.
- Our relationships with each other matter.
- Our skill and preparation to be active bystanders matter.
- Radical vulnerability is part of the solution.
- You matter!
Request an ActWIse Workshop
We provide 60- to 90-minute ActWIse workshops for any campus organization, unit, or department. ActWIse is suitable for undergraduate students, graduate & professional students, and university staff or faculty and can be adapted for any audience.
To discuss possibilities for bystander intervention education and training for your group, please contact ActWIse Coordinator Nola Pastor (she/her) at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We are currently offering virtual ActWIse workshops. If you are interested in an ActWIse workshop but are concerned about the virtual format, feel free to reach out to Nola to discuss.