First up, if you're worried someone might be in immediate danger you need to contact police on 000, or talk to someone at 1800MYLINE (1800 695 463) the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling service, available 24/7.
Some cases of sexual assault and violence could have been avoided if someone nearby had spoken up at the right time. You can do something to prevent sexual assault without it being a big deal or ending up in a fight.
Taking positive action as a bystander can be confronting - especially in public or when you know the people involved - but sometimes just knowing how you can act safely and effectively gives you the confidence to do something. For more info on how to take safe action that works check out our other bystander articles, and watch this great video from WhoAreYou.co.nz. to help you think about the situation and the various points of intervention, and learn what you can do.
Trigger Warning: This video shows a fictional scenario leading up to a rape, and may be distressing for some viewers. Please take this into consideration before watching the clip. If you feel distressed or want to talk to someone, please contact 1800MYLINE (1800 695 463).
Some important points for bystanders:
- As a bystander, making sure you're safe is the number one priority - don't go charging into a potentially violent situation.
- If there are people in positions of authority, like security or staff, make them aware of what's happening. Talk to others around you about what's going on for backup and support.
- If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, gently try to get the person at risk away from the threat. Confronting the perpetrator is NOT what you want to be doing here - looking after the person you're worried about is the best thing you can do.
- Always stay calm, and keep your tone and body-language non-threatening.
- If the situation is getting (even more) out of control, be ready to step away immediately - have an exit strategy before you go in.
- And if you're witnessing violence occurring or obviously about to occur call 000.
What did you think of the video - was there anything you felt the bystanders could have done better - even after the 'rewind' when they stepped up? Let us know what you reckon, and how you'd react if you saw someone crossing the line...