How to Intervene
No one has to do everything. Everyone has to do something.
The College of Wooster is a community. You are expected to watch out for your friends, roommates, classmates, other acquaintances, and even strangers. When an incident of sexual or relationship violence is about to take place, there are often bystanders who may notice a red flag. In many cases, bystanders can intervene to change the outcome or de-escalate the situation.
If you are in a situation and see warning signs or something that makes you uncomfortable, take 3 seconds:
- Take a second look. Don’t ignore your feeling of discomfort.
- Check in with the person. Ask if they’re okay.
- Think, “what if it was someone that I loved?” Would you want someone to step in to help your sibling, your best friend, your significant other?
The College believes that most people want to help others around them. We all have barriers: we’re worried about being wrong, we don’t like confrontation, we’re shy and don’t like to have attention focused on us. There is still always something that you can do to help. You can be direct, distract, or delegate.
- Direct: check in with the person that you’re worried about, tell the other person that their behavior isn’t okay, ask everyone what is going on.
- Distract: do something to refocus everyone’s attention. Spill a drink, ask to use their phone, show them a cat video, tell them you feel sick and need help.
- Delegate: get help from others. Find your friends and tell them why you’re worried, find an RA, call Security and Protective Services.
Supporting a Friend
Support: If your friend chooses to tell you about their experience, they have made that choice based on trust. You should be supportive, non-judgmental and listen. Let them share the experience at their own pace. This was not their fault!
Believe: Believe them! Take the information seriously, but remember that it is not your job to assess the situation or investigate the facts. Do not label their experience; let them do that on their own.
Refer: The College of Wooster has many support resources available for your friend. As a concerned friend, you can speak with College staff to gain more information, but you can also let your friend know about these resources. Allow them to make their own decisions how they want to handle their next steps.