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Be An Active Bystander

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, dial x44911 or 978-934-4911.

How to be an Active Bystander

Bystanders play a critical role in the prevention of sexual and relationship violence. They are “individuals who observe violence or witness the conditions that perpetuate violence. They are not directly involved but have the choice to intervene, speak up, or do something about it.” 

At UMass Lowell, we want to promote a culture of community accountability where bystanders are actively engaged in the prevention of violence without causing further harm.  We may not always know what to do even if we want to help.  

Below is a list of some ways to be an active bystander. This could include when a person is yelling at or being physically abusive toward another and it is not safe for you to interrupt.
  1. Watch out for your friends and fellow students/employees. If you see someone who looks like they could be in trouble or need help, ask if they are OK.
  2. Confront people who seclude, hit on, try to make out with, or have sex with people who are incapacitated.
  3. Speak up when someone discusses plans to take sexual advantage of another person.
  4. Believe someone who discloses sexual assault, abusive behavior or experience with stalking.
  5. Refer people to on- or off-campus resources listed in section IX of the Sexual Harassment/Title IX/VAWA Procedure (pdf) for support in health, counseling or with legal assistance. 

Helpful Bystander Actions 

  • Make up an excuse to get him/her out of a potentially dangerous situation
  • Let a friend or co-worker know that his or her actions may lead to serious consequences
  • Never leave his/her side, despite the efforts of someone to get him/her alone or away from you
  • Use a group of friends to remind someone behaving inappropriately that his or her behavior should be respectful
  • Call the authorities when the situation warrants