Nothing in this article is meant to be medical advice. Please consult your own healthcare provider.
Some info below taken from:
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. SA is still a big problem for children, women, men, even elders. SA affects not only survivors’ long-term emotional health but their health in general.
Survivors often have higher incidence of chronic health problems such as asthma, arthritis, diabetes and hypertension. Survivors report feeling depressed and anxious, worthless, damaged and often are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Survivors may self-medicate the emotional pain with drugs and alcohol.
Sadly, some SAs could have been prevented if only bystanders had not turned away but instead had intervened to prevent or stop. Some call this being an “upstander.”
The Thought Catalogue (see link) says, “… bystander intervention is the opposite of passivity. It is the rejection of idly standing by while someone, either you know or do not know, is getting hurt, or could possibly be in danger.”
Even without professional training, we can help to prevent, stop or reduce SA by learning simple, safe and proven-effective Bystander Intervention techniques while following certain guidelines.
Here are the guidelines. Next come the BI techniques.
Do not put yourself at risk.
Do not make the situation worse.
Do look for early warning signs of trouble, such as raised voices, pushing or shoving, cornering, trying to isolate a potential victim from the group or from help and witnesses, ganging up. If the potential victim is incapacitated or feeling too intimidated to help her/himself, these early signs can be solid indicators that nothing good is about to happen.
Do intervene at the earliest point possible, preventing escalation. This is the easiest moment in which to successfully change the dynamic.
Intervening does not necessarily mean confronting. Check out the BI techniques below.
Do ask for help from others standing by. Group intervention may be safer than going solo. It is effective; the deterrent effect can be longer-lasting. Remember, it takes a village.
How best to intervene? Public health advocates all across the globe have developed something called the “4 Ds” of BI. They are: direct, distract, delegate, delay.
Direct: Step up by stepping in to prevent or stop a problem. Remember the first guideline, though: Do not put yourself or others around you at risk.
Delegate: There may be good reasons to not go direct. Seek help from someone with more authority to intervene — law enforcement, if available, or other concerned citizens around you.
Distract: Interrupting the situation without directly confronting the offender. Be creative: “Hey, isn’t that your car? I think you’re getting towed.” Then, spirit the victim away quickly and quietly to a safer place while the potential perpetrator is distracted.
Delay: If none of the above seems like a good idea, then check in later with the victim. See if they need help, support, someone to talk to or to assist them to get professional help if needed.
We can all be upstanders.
Callie Wight is a California state-licensed registered nurse with a Master of Arts in psychology.