One of the most effective ways to prevent sexual assault is bystander intervention—seeing a risky situation and stopping it.

It’s not always easy to know if and when you should step in. A lot of people struggle with this. We offer programs and outreach events throughout the year to help you figure this out. 

But some common, safe, and effective ways you can help are listed below.

Take the Pledge

Step in Speak Up Pledge

Join others from across campus and take the Step In. Speak Up. pledge.

How to Intervene

  • If you think someone is doing something he or she shouldn’t—say so.
  • If you think someone is being pressured or steered into a risky situation, step in. Let the person know you are worried about safety. 
  • On your own, or with others, ask the person directly, “Do you need our help?” or “Do you need help getting home? “
  • Speak up when you see someone giving drugs or alcohol to facilitate sex.
  • Speak up when you see someone taking steps to isolate a possible victim.
  • Create a diversion. Try turning on lights or turning off music at a party.
  • Get others around you to help if you don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own.
  • Stay with a person who seems impaired or incapacitated. A perpetrator is much less likely to do something when you are around as a witness. 
  • Contact the police.

How to Report an Assault 

Always encourage someone to report sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking to the police. Victims who wish to keep the matter confidential can contact the Office of Victim Services. Students living in the residence halls can turn to their RA or residence hall staff members for help.

Getting medical attention quickly is important for collecting evidence.