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How to Help a Friend


Bystander intervention is a sexual assault prevention strategy that encourages witnesses to take safe action when they see a situation that might lead to sexual misconduct, and to support victims after an incident. Being an active bystander does not require that you risk our own safety or the well-being of others. The goal is to aid in the prevention of violence without causing further threat, harm, or damage.

There is a range of responses you can use that are appropriate, depending on the situation:

  • Approach in a friendly manner
  • Avoid violence and keep yourself safe
  • Be honest and direct
  • Use distraction
  • Find help if necessary
  • Contact the police

If someone tells you they have been a victim of sexual misconduct, encourage them to:

  • File a College complaint
  • File a criminal complaint
  • File an anonymous complaint
  • Seek crisis support resources