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Be an Active Bystander: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is sexual assault awareness month. It’s a heavy topic, for sure, but it’s so important to be aware of. If we understand some of the dynamics of these crimes, we can learn how best to intervene during an incident or support a victim afterwards.

Some staggering facts about sexual assault:

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime
  • 80% of sexual assault victims know their perpetrators
  • Women are most likely to experience a sexual assault between the ages of 16 and 24
  • On college campuses, 89% of sexual assaults involve alcohol

“Harm exists on our campus just like it does in all communities—it’s what we do in that moment that shifts our culture,” says Danielle Charters, Boise State’s Title IX coordinator. “We want everyone to be a proactive member of our university community. It’s up to all of us to help create and build a safe community for everyone. We do this by being active bystanders and educating our campus community.”

Here are 4 ways to intervene if you find yourself a bystander to potential sexual violence:

  • Distract – This is a subtle and creative way to intervene. Drop your keys by them, ask for directions, or ask if you know them from class.
  • Delegate – Bring in a third party to help, like a bouncer at the club or the host of the party.
  • Direct – Respond directly, or physically intervene. Say to the person, “This is not okay, you need to stop.”
  • Delay – If you can’t step in during the moment, check in afterwards and offer support. Ask “Is everything okay? Can I call someone for you? Would you like to get lunch?”

If you or someone you know has been impacted by sexual assault please know you are not alone. Ask for help. There are so many resources available, both on campus and off, to support you.

Campus Resources to Remember

Health Services

Medical, Counseling, Wellness

Dean of Students

Support for Students

Title IX at Boise State

Office of Institutional Compliance and Ethics

Public Safety

Campus Security Services

Gender Equity Center

No-cost, Confidential Support Services

Community Resources to Remember

Faces of Hope

Support for victims of interpersonal violence

Women's and Children's Alliance

Support for survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse

Nampa Family Justice Center

Support for victims of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault