KNOW What to Do
Being a Bystander: Dating violence affects everyone around the couple involved. Those other people, the ones who see, hear, or learn of abuse, they're called bystanders and you're one of them. It will take a community effort to help someone in a dating violence situation obtain safety. It's not as scary as it seems. It's actually scarier to do nothing and let the violence continue. Keep reading to find out more about safe bystander intervention—that is, helping someone experiencing relationship abuse.
Speaking of "bystander intervention, have you heard about this thing? I bet you have, and I bet you've done it without thinking. Simply put, bystander intervention is the opposite of passivity. It is the rejection of idly standing by." There are many technical definitions and studies to show why it works and why, when we practice it, we're working to do away with violence and creating the kind of world we want to live in when we grow up. This applies to just about everyone!
Read this blog (exerpted above) to learn the four intervention Ds (ways a person can help). Remember, it doesn't have to be all out or nothing. Directly (physically) intervening isn't the only, or even best way. Just KNOW, you have options.
And you're likely to have to exercise those options because dating violence happens every day. Chances are you know someone, a sister, friend, classmate, or neighbor who is experiencing some kind of relationship abuse. Most people don't know that they don't have to do something dramatic to make a difference or possibly prevent a dating violence situation from either continuing or happening in the first place. It can be as simple as asking that person if she is okay, telling an adult, creating a diversion, or offering resources. That's why getting educated is key. As youth, you have a huge opportunity to change what is considered normal in our society—that includes your school and communities. Dating violence shouldn't be labeled "drama." Anyone who is aggressive towards another person - and this behavior isn't just physical; it can be verbal or emotional as well - and causes harm to another, is being abusive (KNOW the warning signs). When this happens in a relationship, whether current or someone a person dated previously, it's dating violence. And it's just not cool.
In this section you will find the information to be a KNOWledeable bystander, which will give you the confidence to safely intervene and KNOW when to speak up and when to seek additional help. Remember, there are many options between physically intervening and doing nothing because you don't know what to do or are afraid you might get hurt, too. That's the good news. It's often the simplest act that can really help someone experiencing dating violence; you just need to KNOW WHAT TO DO.