Bringing in the Bystander / What Can I Do?
List of bystander behaviors (generated for Mary Mayhew’s letter to TNH 10/24/2006 about the death of UVM student Michelle Gardner-Quinn):
... While statistics tell us that the vast majority of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows, the murder of Michelle Gardner-Quinn reminds us that even in the seemingly safe environment of a New England campus, none of us is immune to violence. When we talk about tragedies such as this, it's important to be clear that the responsibility for this appalling act lies clearly with the perpetrator. Nothing that any victim does ever tips the balance away from that fact. As we move forward, however, it's important to focus on the things that we can all do to keep ourselves and others safe.
As individuals we can:
- Make arrangements to travel with friends to minimize vulnerability.
- Utilize the local police they are available 24 hours a day.
- Trust our intuition and don't hesitate to call for help if we're feeling uneasy.
As bystanders witnessing a dangerous situation we can:
- Call police or someone else in authority.
- Tell another person. Being with others is a good idea when a situation looks dangerous.
- Yell for help.
- Ask a friend in a potentially dangerous situation if he/she wants to leave and then make sure that he/she gets home safely.
- Ask a victim if he/she is okay. Provide options and a listening ear.
- Call the local crisis center for support and options.
All of these behaviors and more will contribute to building a community of safety and care that help end violence against women.