Slide Deck Outline

This section complements the facilitator notes included in the slide deck. It provides suggestions on alternative ways of facilitating activities and how to “go deeper” into topics depending on time available, audience interest, and goals for the training.

There are several sections in the slide deck where the information provided can and should be specific to the institution delivering the training. Sections where institution specific information should be inserted include: land acknowledgement, on-campus support services and community-based victim services, and the institution’s sexual violence and misconduct policy.

Opening (Slides 2-8)

Land Acknowledgement: Adapt your institution’s land acknowledgement. Territorial acknowledgements are designed as the very first step to reconciliation. See Section 1 for additional information about creating a land acknowledgement for this training.

Optional Introductory Ice Breaker: You may choose to include an ice breaker activity at the beginning of your training to provide learners with an opportunity to get to know each other. Below is an example of an activity that can be used for both in-person and online trainings.

Two young kids in a pillow fight.
Pillow Fight by Allen Taylor is licensed under an Unsplash license.

Give learners a moment to examine this photo (or another similar photo) and then ask them:

  • What’s going on here?
  • If you saw this happening, would you act?
  • What factors would you consider before deciding to act or not?

Explore the different things people pick up on in the image, different perspectives on what’s happening, and how they might respond in the moment. Connect back to being a bystander in situations involving sexual violence. This activity is useful for “lightening the mood” or if there’s a lot of discomfort around the topic.

Community agreement

Help create a safe and respectful space through the use of a community agreement. See Section 2: Creating Space for more information about the use of community agreements.

Self care

Slide 4 describes an activity that you can use to help learners identify strategies for taking care of themselves during and after the training. You can use the Wellness Wheel to discuss different types of wellness and different approaches to self-care. You can also expand this part of the training by providing learners with the opportunity to more deeply explore wellness and self-care by using the Wellness Wheel handout below.

A wheel labelled with the 9 dimensions of self wellness.
The 9 dimensions of self wellness: Physical, emotional, academic/career, social, creative, spiritual, environmental, financial, and intellectual.

The Wellness Wheel was developed by Jewell Gillies, Musgamgw Dzawada’enux (they/them/theirs), and aligns with Indigenous traditional practices that view wellness holistically. You can download a handout version to share with learners here: BCcampus Wellness Wheel Worksheet [PDF].

During this discussion, you should make sure that learners know what supports are available on campus and in community, and that you will be available after the workshop to debrief with anyone who might need additional support. Additionally, let learners know that they can private message a specific facilitator (email).

You can also deepen this discussion of self-care by talking about individual self-care versus community care and institutional support and resources. Self-care can often have an overly individual focus on it as people are encouraged to take care of themselves. Similar to how we encourage learners to think beyond the individual to systems and structures when we talk about preventing sexual violence, we need to expand our understanding of self-care and wellness. (This concept is relevant for learners, but it is also important for facilitators to consider for themselves. This is not easy or uncharged work to do, and it is both important and encouraged to acknowledge what kind of needs you may have to stay well in the work). Resources that may be helpful to review to support this type of discussion include:

Video: Maya’xala and Namwayut

This short video Maya’xala and Namwayut with Jewell Gillies is an opportunity to ground discussions about bystander interventions in the context of community relationships and Indigenous ways of knowing. Following the video, you can highlight the following points:

  • Approaching bystander intervention from the basis of mutual respect and community is important;
  • When we see people causing harm, we can situate our intervention in the assumption that they care about being respectful members of the community.
  • By grounding our responses in these ideas, we are working to decolonize the way we build communities and respond to harm.

Section 1: Understanding Sexual Violence (slides 8-18)

Activity: Definitions

Learning Objective(s) Addressed: Define sexual violence

Intent: to ensure learners understand terms used by their institutions they attend/work at.


Explain the importance of knowing what the terms mean, especially as language is ever changing and the meanings can vary depending on things like culture or setting (i.e., slightly different between different universities or from province to province). Because of the fluidity of language, it is important to define terms folks say they understand as well as the terms that they are unsure about. You are encouraged to make this piece interactive. Depending on time, you could choose one of the following options for a few terms, then distribute a full definitions page and let learners know it is their responsibility to be aware of what the terms mean at your institution.

  • Option 1: Put your institutional definitions into an interactive game, like Kahoot!
  • Option 2: Create a matching worksheet or game.
  • Option 3: Choose a term and have learners brainstorm what they think it means. Compare to your institution’s definition(s).

Notes and considerations

  • Often this section leads people to realize that they have experienced things that are now being defined as violence. Facilitators should know how to receive disclosures and have working knowledge of supports for victim/survivors.
  • Similarly, learners may realize from this section that they have done things to or with others that would be identified as violent. See Section 2: Trauma Awareness for suggestions on supporting learners before and after a session.
    • When possible, facilitators can share their experiences of how they felt when they learned these things and if they realized any of their previous actions or attitudes were harmful – recognizing that everyone learns and it’s possible to move through the discomfort of it all.
  • At the very least, ensure all learners have a copy of a definitions page for their reference. It can be easy to get lost in the words facilitators are comfortable using, so this is an important resource for learners.
  • If you find other effective, interactive strategies for definitions, share them with the rest of the community!

Activity: What causes sexual violence

Learning Objective(s) Addressed: Recognize the complex roots of sexual violence and how social influences normalize violence.

Intent: to gauge and gather learners’ ideas about sexual violence, to promote deeper reflection about why violence happens, to challenge myths that come up.


Recognize that learners are coming from diverse backgrounds and histories with different experiences and may have lots of ideas and knowledge about this already.

Option 1: Allow learners 30 seconds or so to silently reflect on “What causes sexual violence” and write down an idea or two.

Collect responses in one of these ways:

  • In person or online: Use an audience interaction platform like Slido or Mentimeter to pose the question and collect anonymous answers (e.g. Word cloud function).
  • In person: whole group discussion with responses recorded on a board or chart paper
  • Online: Invite verbal responses and contributions in the chat box. Record responses by typing into the slide, if possible.

Option 2: create a poll in Kahoot or Slido with preloaded answers such as:

Sexual violence happens because:

  • People drink too much.
  • False beliefs about gender relations.
  • People dress in provocative clothing.
  • Women walk alone late at night.
  • A desire to assert power and control over someone.

Debrief answers received and use as transition to Continuum of Violence slide.

Notes and considerations

  • Be prepared that this activity can bring up myths about sexual violence. It’s important to think about your responses to common sentiments about false reporting, victim/survivor behaviour, “bad apples,” impacts of substance use, perpetrators just not knowing what they were doing, violence often happening between strangers, etc.
    • If something comes up that sounds like a rape myth or that it may cause harm but you’re unsure how to respond, you can say something like “I’m hesitant to dig into that in this space, but I’d be happy to discuss it with you further offline (or direct you to someone who may know more about that than I do)” or refer back to the group guidelines about assuming there are survivors in the room.
    • Check out the table in Section 2: Responding to Common Myths about Sexual Violence for more suggestions on how to facilitate these discussions.
  • Taking good notes during this activity is a great way to get new ideas and framings for future training or educational materials.

Activity: Roots of violence

Learning Objective(s) Addressed: Recognize the complex roots of sexual violence and how social influences normalize violence.

Intent: to practice recognizing how everyday interactions and social messaging can perpetuate rape culture.


  • Facilitators should choose an image that reflects some of the key messages described below. Social media memes, music videos, romantic comedies or reality TV shows often have great examples.
  • Divide students into small groups or ask them to discuss with others around them.
    • Online delivery: invite whole group discussion using mics or chat boxes, or if you have some extra time, use breakout rooms for small groups.
  • Ask students to reflect on the images and engage with the following questions:
    • What messages does this image send about gender and socializing?
    • What does it say about “nice” people?
  • Give students 2 minutes to discuss or ask them to signal when they’ve completed their discussion. Ask each group to report back on their discussion.
  • Key messages:
    • Certain genders have rules about when and how they can socialize. Breaking the rules of socializing may be risky/dangerous which may mean rule breakers are to blame for anything bad that happens. This reinforces the binary of “good” people and “bad” people (nice girls/bad girls).
    • Rape culture is also tied to homophobia, transphobia, and queerphobia. Rape and sexual violence is often joked about as a way to “cure” or punish queers. Also, there remains a false discourse that paints some members of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community (e.g. transgender, gay, lesbian, and bisexual) as threats to (sexual) safety or as sexual deviants.
    • Final debrief note: It’s important to remember that rape culture is built and sustained by the small acts that are regularly enacted, permitted and add up over time. No one person is responsible for rape culture, and just because we engage in one act does not mean we are responsible for the rape of another person. What’s important is to start noticing these kinds of things, because they can all be places where we build stronger, more respectful communities free of violence.

Notes and considerations

  • If facilitators have the capacity, it may be worthwhile to monitor the chatrooms to ensure that conversations are flowing well and respectfully.
  • This activity can be adapted to use lots of different images, songs or clips from TV/movies/news. Feel free to switch out the images if there is something that feels more topical or relevant to the group you’re presenting with.

Section 2: Active Bystander Intervention (slides 20-27)

Activity: Think of a time when someone stood up for you

Learning Objective(s) Addressed: Develop skills to intervene and be an active bystander if you see sexual violence happening

Intent: to reflect on personal experience of situations where bystander intervention is possible; to start identifying positive and negative impacts or attributes bystanders can have; to emphasize the importance of thinking about safety and the victim/survivor’s perspective before jumping into action.


  • Allow learners 1 minute or so to think quietly. If in person, ask learners to turn to those closest to them to debrief their responses to the question for 2 minutes. If online, skip this part.
  • Ask the larger group: What did the bystander do well? What could they have done differently?
    • Make notes on learners’ responses throughout the exercise. This will start to capture qualities of a “good” or “bad” bystander and some things to think about before intervening.
  • Main debrief note after discussion: It’s not always easy or clear to know if or how we should intervene, but considering how your actions may make the victim/survivor feel is an important step.
    • It can also be helpful to think about a pros and cons to intervening. For example, Con: someone tells you to F off and you’re embarrassed for a minute, Pro: you prevent violence /support change culture etc. Oftentimes, the pros can outweigh the cons when considering to intervene.

Activity: Identifying barriers to intervening

Learning Objective(s) Addressed: Develop skills to intervene and be an active bystander if you see sexual violence happening.

Intent: To acknowledge that there are good reasons (i.e., risk of other forms of discrimination) why people do not intervene sometimes; to highlight that an intervention does not have to be “perfect” to be useful or helpful.


  • If sticking to the 90 minute workshop: Discuss this as a popcorn style group brainstorm for 3 minutes or so
  • If you have additional time:
    • Break learners up into small groups (using chat rooms for virtual delivery).
    • Allow them 5 minutes to discuss the topic. Ask each group to take notes on their responses so that they can be shared back.
    • As learners report back to the larger group, facilitators should note where there are commonalities in responses.
  • Moving to the next slide, note that some or many of these may have already been mentioned, but some we often hear and are supported in the academic literature include:
    • fear about personal safety – especially if part of another already marginalized identity groups
    • fear about doing it wrong or making it worse
    • not knowing what to say/do
    • uncertainty about whether or not it’s “your place”
    • worry that other consequences will come because of the context (e.g. drug use happening, what will happen if RCMP come?)
    • social ramifications/consequences: being seen as too sensitive, Debbie Downer, SJW (a Social Justice Warrior); being isolated from a peer group or community that provides significant support; being seens as responsible for causing a rift in a tight knit group/community/team
  • Final debrief note: acknowledge that many people share the same worries or fears about responding to a situation, and acknowledge that responses do not have to be perfect to be useful (Reynolds, 2013).

Section 3: The 4Ds Model

The 4 Ds: Direct, distract, delegate, and delay. Described in the following text.

  1. (Be) Direct: Name what is happening or confront the harasser.
    • It can be risky, so be thoughtful and use caution. The harasser may redirect their abuse toward you and escalate the situation.
    • Ask yourself: Are you and the person being harassed physically safe? Does it seem unlikely that the situation will escalate? Can you tell if the person being harassed wants someone to speak up?
    • Examples of direct statements: “That’s inappropriate, disrespectful, not okay, etc.” “Leave them alone.”“That’s homophobic, racist, etc.”
    • Keep it short and succinct.
    • Don’t engage in dialogue, debate, or an argument – this is how situations can escalate.
    • If the harasser responds, try your best to stay focused on assisting the person who was targeted instead of engaging with the harasser.
  2. Distract: Derail the incident by interrupting it.
    • Ignore the harasser and engage directly with the person who is being targeted.
    • Don’t talk about or refer to the harassment. Instead, talk about something completely unrelated.
    • Example strategies: Pretend to be lost. Ask for the time. Pretend you know the person being harassed. Talk about something to take attention off of the harassed person. Accidentally-on-purpose spill your coffee or make a commotion.
  3. Delegate: Ask for assistance, a resource or help from a third party.
    • Set the expectation to speak up and step in. Talking openly and responding directly to inappropriate behaviors will encourage others to respond. It shows you recognize the comment or behavior is unacceptable and shows others that it will not be tolerated.
    • Example Statements: Are you hearing what I am hearing?I can’t be the only one who thinks this is not OK.
    • Find the store supervisor, bus driver, bar staff, faculty member, security officer or a transit employee and ask them to intervene.
    • Work together. Speak to someone near you who notices what’s happening and might be in a better position to intervene.
    • Call 911 to request help. Before contacting 911, try to check in with the person being targeted to make sure they want you to do this. Some people may not be comfortable with the intervention of law enforcement. It may not always be possible to check in first, so use your best judgement. Some people may not be comfortable with the intervention of law enforcement.
  4. Delay: Check in with the person who was harassed after the fact.
    • Even if you can’t act in the moment, you can make a difference for the person who has been harassed afterward.
    • Many types of harassment happen in passing or very quickly, in which case you can wait until the situation is over and speak to the person who was targeted then. For example, you can:
      • Ask them if they’re okay
      • Tell them you’re sorry that happened to them.
      • Let them know that what has happened to them isn’t their fault
      • Affirm that they didn’t do anything wrong.
      • Ask them if there’s any way you can support them.
      • Offer to accompany them to their destination or sit with them for a bit.
      • Offer to share resources or help them make a report if they want to.
      • If you’ve documented the incident, ask them if they want you to send it to them.
      • Respect their answer, whatever it is.

Section 4: Practice Scenarios (Slides 33 -36)

Learning Outcome(s) Addressed: Developing skills to intervene and be an active bystander if you see sexual violence happening.

Intent: to practice specific intervention skills and strategies using real life circumstances.


5 minute group work, 10 minute debrief.

  • Option 1: divide learners into small groups (breakout rooms for virtual work) and have each group work on a different scenario;
  • Option 2: Go through multiple situations as a larger group.
  • Invite learners to read the scenario and consider:
    • Which of the 4D’s would you use to intervene?
    • What would stop you from saying or doing something?
    • Would you follow-up after the situation? If so, how?
  • If learners were divided into small groups, return for a whole group debrief. Encourage learners to identify which “D” their strategy falls under and any other big spots of discussion from their group.
  • Online delivery tip: invite learners to contribute via chat boxes.

Notes and considerations


Scenario 1: Waiting for the bus

You are waiting for the bus on campus after a long day with a group of people you are friendly with. You notice a student who is waiting for the same bus being approached by someone they seem to know and are being flirtatious with. Something in their conversation and body language changes as the bus pulls up. The student looks upset and rushes onto the bus, you hear them say firmly, “I said I am not interested!” The person they were flirting with looks confused and follows them onto the bus.

Scenario 2: Inappropriate “joke” between coworkers

Kai has just been hired in your department as the new administrative assistant. Your co-worker Shay is responsible for training all new staff. Shay is friendly and generally very funny. A few weeks after Kai starts, you notice Shay hanging out at Kai’s desk. As you get closer, you can hear Shay talking about how nice Kai’s eyes are. Shay laughs, “Oops, you better not tell HR about that!” Kai doesn’t laugh or say anything in response.

Later that day you hear Shay asking for help with a jammed photocopier. As Kai bends over to help, you see Shay glancing at Kai’s bum. With a laugh Shay says, “I guess your eyes aren’t the only nice thing about you.”

Scenario 3: Socializing after an exam

After an exam, you and some classmates go out to celebrate. After a few drinks, one of them starts talking about a date he went on the weekend before. Ash talks loudly about how he could tell immediately that his date was going to have sex with him that night. Some classmates remain silent, pretending to be distracted by their phones or the menu. A few classmates chime in about their own sexual encounters on first dates, joking about how to tell by someone’s dating profile picture how likely they are to be open to having sex or hooking up. Ash asks a quiet classmate, “Would you have sex on the first date?” When the quiet classmate responds, “Not with you!” Ash suggests that he would just have to get the classmate drunk first to loosen them up.

Debriefing notes/Follow-up questions

Scenario 1: Waiting for the bus

Though you may not have heard what was said between the two flirtatious people in this scenario, you may guess that something is not quite right from context clues like changes in body language and tone. You may not be completely sure that you have witnessed sexual violence or harassment, but it’s better to be an active bystander than to be a passive one — just in case.

Sometimes being in a group of people we feel safe with changes the way we intervene when we witness sexual violence or harassment. We might be more or less likely to get involved based on our relationship within the group. For example, the bystander effect can kick in here if no one else in your group responds to help the student. You might second-guess your instincts to intervene because you aren’t sure that what you are witnessing is, indeed, some form of violence or harassment. You might wait for someone else in your friend group to make the first move if you assume they are better suited to intervening (maybe they are bigger, stronger, or feistier than you). On the other hand, you may feel safer to use one of the 4 D’s if you are surrounded by safe people who you think may support you in your efforts to intervene. There can be strength in numbers in this scenario. For example, you and your friend group could, if you wanted to, form a protective shield between the student and the person they were flirting with once you all get on the bus. Which of the 4 D’s would that be?

Scenario 2: Inappropriate “joke” between coworkers

Responding to sexual violence in the workplace can be tricky. There are often many dynamics at play that will inform your decisions about what to do and how to do it. Though it might be clear to some that Kai needs support and that Shay needs to correct their behaviour, how we go about being an active bystander may depend on how we fit in the workplace hierarchy. For example, this scenario shows a power imbalance between Kai and Shay. Kai is new to the team, while Shay has been a member of the team for a longer. Shay may feel more secure at work than Kai; they have had a longer time to prove themselves and their competency as well as make relationships and connections within the team. Kai may still be on probation and have less job security. Kai may be unsure of the supports available, the expectations of how to react to Shay’s inappropriate jokes, how to report harassment or even who to report it to.

Your decision to be an active bystander may also be linked to how you fit in the workplace hierarchy. If Shay is your supervisor or has a friendship outside of work with your supervisor, you might be worried about things like retaliation or being fired. The strategies you choose in addressing the problematic behaviour towards Kai might be different if you and Shay are peers or if Shay reports to you. How would you change your strategy (i.e. which of the 4D’s you use) if there was an imbalance of power between you and Shay?

Scenario 3: Socializing after an exam

In this scenario, alcohol may play a big role. Ash and others are say sexually inappropriate and problematic things about the people they have sex with. This talk makes others uncomfortable, and finally one quiet person is singled out and victimized. Ash’s joke about getting your your quiet classmate drunk so that they will have sex with him shows that he equates drunkenness with consent. Consent can’t be given if someone is incapacitated by alcohol.

There are many layers to this scenario and many things to consider when you are being an active bystander. What would you consider before using the 4 D’s to create a safe environment for your quiet classmate?

Closing (Slides 37-39)

Recognize that everyone has a role in creating healthy and safe campus communities. We’d like to know what piece of learning today has been most useful to you as you move forward to create safer communities. Maybe it’s a strategy, or a term or a statement. Let’s take one minutes to reflect and then enter your response into Slido (and/or invite active feedback, whichever seems more likely to encourage engagement).

Optional closing activity: if you have a bit more time: Rock Stick Leaf Debrief.

Invite learners to take note of 3 pieces from today → something that “rocked their world”, something that’s going to stick with them, and a message they’d like to leave with peers. Invite them to share back with the larger group if they are comfortable.

Thank learners for their participation.


Reminder of facilitator availability and available resources. Re-iterate that they can reach out to the facilitators after the session for support.


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Active Bystander Intervention: Training and Facilitation Guide Copyright © 2021 by Sexual Violence Training Development Team is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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