Be an Active Bystander

Transform your values into actions: Become an active bystander - Speak out and stand up to prevent sexual violence at Siena College!

A bystander is someone who witnesses a problem behavior and doesn’t do anything about it. 

An ACTIVE bystander is someone who intervenes and makes a difference. 

Bystanders have power! 90% of campus rapes are committed by serial offenders.  Most people in our community are NOT hurting other people.

We can all make a difference.

Did you know?  98% of Siena students report that they would intervene through words or actions to prevent incapacitated sex/sexual assault. (Siena College Health Survey Fall 2013) So, speak out and stand up to prevent sexual violence at Siena College!

Here are some tips for becoming an active bystander.

Intervene by word or action (examples: call Public Safety or seek assistance from a residential life staff member. Don’t let a friend or someone you see be stalked, in an abusive relationship or coerced into leaving with someone they don‘t know.)  

Steps to Becoming an Active Bystander:

  • Notice the event.

  • Interpret it as a problem.

  • Feel responsible to act.

  • Know what to do (skills!)

  • Intervene safely.

USE THE 3-D INTERVENTION MODEL to help you intervene:

Direct – if you feel comfortable and safe to do so, approach the person(s) yourself

Delegate- Find friends of the victim (or potential perpetrator) to intervene, call the Residence Director, Public Safety, police or another campus professional

Distract- Divert attention away from the situation, district one of the parties into shifting attention (interrupt and ask the person to make sure you get home safely, spill a drink…)

It’s safe to speak out and stand up: Students are sometimes afraid to report incidents when drinking or drug use is a factor in the situation for fear that because they were present, they will get into trouble.  At Siena we believe in safety first and, as a result, we have enacted a Welfare of the Community policy:  In situations like these, any possible negative consequences for the reporter of the problem will be evaluated against the possible negative consequences for the student who needed assistance, those who assisted in an investigation about the incident, and/or the larger community.  In such cases, the positive impact upon the welfare of the community will be given great weight in determining the appropriate response to the student conduct code violations.  The College will consider very favorably the positive impact of reporting, aka of serving as an active bystander.  You can learn more about the Welfare of the Community policy in Siena Life or by talking with the Dean or an Associate Dean of Students. 

Being an Active Bystander at Siena also means:

  • Examining my own behavior and attitudes.  What do I do well?  What could I improve?

  • Watching my words, because they have power.

  • Watching out for each other.

  • Supporting survivors.

  • Getting involved, getting educated.