Orientation and Awareness Campaigns Forum – Notes
10 In This Together: University of the Fraser Valley’s Bystander Program
- Developed by UFV, the In this Together program provides 3 workshops aimed at preventing sexualized violence on campus, relating to consent, and active bystander intervention and responding to disclosures.
- The bystander workshop is 90 minutes in length and includes a 10-minute video showing two stories playing out of situations that bystanders could potentially witness.
- The stories include a male/female story and a same-gender story to show similar situations seen via different relationships/individuals.
- Explains different ways to intervene:
- Distract–to distract person with something else, so behaviour stops,
- Delegate–to ask someone else to help with intervening,
- Direct–directly address what is happening.
- To help individuals understand different situations where they can intervene.
- Provide best practices in intervention.
- Prepare bystanders for risk/discomfort and look after their emotional and physical safety.
- Allow participants to understand their own biases and barriers to intervening.
- Presentation was given in a way that the audience/bystanders were impacted.
- One presenter noted she spoke softly and those who had trouble hearing should move closer (individuals impacted had to solve problem on their own, rather than presenter making the format accessible and inclusive).
- Presenter noting women more likely to use Distract or Delegate intervention techniques, over Direct (which is untrue).
- As forum attendees did not intervene in the presentation (which was a low-risk situation), the format highlighted the barriers to ‘real-world’ bystander intervention, such as that the information was coming from a place of authority (participants believed / accepted what was being said), fear of interrupting or speaking out, waiting for someone else to speak up, or needing time to process what is going on before taking action.
- It was highlighted that most Bystander workshops are based on research from the 1960s – 1990s with little consideration for recent insights
- When asked why participants did not intervene during the presentation (which was a low risk situation), it was noted.
- There can be various barriers to intervening, including psychological, social and emotional risks.
- Witnessing or intervening can be traumatic for individuals.
- Need to consider how we are preparing students to intervene.
- An example given was: Varsity sports team member indicates no concern with intervening if a teammate was acting inappropriately but hesitated when asked if response would be different if teammate was the team captain and intervener was a rookie.