Bystander Intervention and the EIU Community
Creating a campus, free of sexual and interpersonal violence, is the responsibility of all campus community members. One way to help keep everyone safe is to be a good bystander, which means having a willingness to assist a person in need of help. Most people are compassionate and willing to help if they know when and how to intervene.
Often, when people see something going on that could be wrong, they think it is not their problem. It is their problem. It is everyone's problem. At EIU, we want to have a safe campus in which everyone looks out for everyone else's well being. There are five steps to remember in being a good bystander.
Five Steps to Being a Good Bystander:
1. Notice the event.
- Be aware of what is going on around you.
2. Interpret the event.
- If it gives you an uneasy feeling, that may be a good sign to intervene. Trust your instincts; if you are feeling that something does not seem right, it likely isn't. Check into it.
3. Assume personal responsibility.
- Choose to say or do something. Don’t assume that someone else will help and don’t convince yourself that it is not your role to get involved to help.
4. Know how to help.
- You have to decide what the safest way is for you and others involved to help. Often a phone call to 911 is most helpful. Look for options....possible people to reach out to for assistance in helping are Faculty, Staff, Leaders of Organizations, Supervisors, Friends, Parents, Counselors, etc.
- Remember to intervene in a compassionate, non-threatening manner.
- Educate yourself on resources for assisting students on campus and in the community.
5. Take steps to help in a safe manner.
Be sure to remember everyone’s safety when helping.
- Encourage them to seek assistance and offer them resources for assistance.
- Remember, 911 is often the best way to intervene if there is a question of safety for anyone.
If you see something, do something.
Examples of "See Something, Do Something"
- You and a group a friends are walking home late from late night pizza and you see someone walking home alone.
- You could remind them of the resource of the Panther Patrol for assistance in being safely escorted home on campus.
- You see a couple arguing and one of the person's is forcefully grabbing the other person's face.
- It’s always important to remember everyone's safety when intervening as a bystander. The best thing to do may be to call the police and inform them of what you saw so they could do a wellness check and offer assistance if there is a safety concern.
- Your friend tells you that the partner they recently broke up with won't stop calling them and has been outside all of their classes waiting for them "to talk".
- Remind them of their various options to report their potential concern for safety, such as, the police and EIU Student Accountability & Support. Also remind them of their resources for support such as, the EIU Counseling Clinic and off campus resources. You may want to encourage them to walk with someone and to encourage them not to agree to meet alone with the person.
- You are at a party and you see a guy who is trying to convince a woman to go to the back bedroom with him. The woman has declined, but the guy appears to be persistent in trying to convince her.
- You could walk up to the woman with a few of your friends, whether you know her or not, and start a conversation with her to separate her from the guy. You could let her friends know that she seems to need some assistance and help them separate her from the man. You can always call the police to express your concern for a potentially harmful situation for someone.
- You notice someone is walking around your floor in your Residence Hall that no one seems to know and they give you an uneasy feeling.
- You could let your Resident Assistant know and they can check out the situation. If you are off campus and you have the same experience in your apartment complex, you could call the police.
- You see someone sitting alone who is visibly upset.
- You could ask them if they are OK, or do they need some help. Remind the person that the EIU Counseling Clinic is always available to students, as well as many other supportive resources on and off campus.