Bystander intervention is important in our efforts to help stop sexual assault by making individuals aware and able to intervene in situations where others need help. The message bystander intervention sends is a powerful one, in showing less complicity perpetrators are theoretically less likely to commit sexual assault due to social acceptance. John Kalin explains that there is a difference between advocacy and prevention. Kalin begins by explaining his “why’s”.
This is important because an individual must have a “why” to initially become an advocate and help in prevention. When people share their “why’s” for advocating against sexual assault (challenging in many cases) it has a humanizing effect where relatability can become possible. Individuals instill a reason for their friends to have a “why” and the ripple effect continues. Advocacy becomes a larger focus as people begin to question why events like sexual assault happen and how they can support the efforts against it. Each individual has special roles through their own unique intersectionality.
Kalin however makes a crucial observation in that in raising support for advocacy people who are not already passionate about sexual assault can become overwhelmed with large rallies or copious amounts of information, thus “meeting people where they are”. In order to create a larger influence approaches cannot be overwhelming in the sense where they instill a helpless or hopeless view. Increasing your audience by changing expectations can be as simple as changing the question. This is where positive prevention comes in. Instead of telling people what they must be fearful of or scared of in abstracts, like asking question “how do we make sexual assault stop?” into “how do we make prevention cool?”.
The answer is to simply and approachable through accessibility. In doing this, discussions become easier to have. These discussions are then brought into the homes and lives of the people who are able to have them and instills a greater awareness of the daily issues of sexual assault.
[WS301 – 9]