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Witnessing an Incident

Don’t stay there watching what’s going on without doing anything.
Be an active witness and do something to prevent sexual violence.
See something, say something, do something.

An active witness is someone who observes an unacceptable behaviour toward someone else, notices an unsafe situation, or sees a conflict, and intervenes to change the course of events. The situation may be something serious or minor, one-time or repeated.

If you witness unacceptable behaviour

See Something: Observe & Reflect
Pay attention to the environment you’re in. Notice your surroundings. Ask yourself:
  • What did I see?
  • What did I hear?
Decide if what you’re seeing is unacceptable or something seems amiss. It’s ok to feel unsure about how to respond and you don’t need to have all the answers. Choosing any response is better than remaining silent.

Decide whether you can intervene. Ask yourself:
  • Can I play a role here?
  • If no one intervenes, what will likely happen?
  • Is someone else better placed to respond?
  • What would be my purpose in responding?
Determine what your options are for giving your help or what the risks are if you do. Decide if you can act now or later. Ask yourself:
  • Is there a low-risk option?
  • Are there risks to myself?
  • Are there risks to others (e.g. potential retaliation against person being “helped”)?
  • How could I reduce risks?
  • Is there more information I can get to better assess the situation?
Call 911 if the person or others are in immediate danger or if you fear for your safety.
Say Something: Listen to Your Instincts

After assessing the situation, decide if and how you might respond. Respond as you feel appropriate. Remember, it’s ok to feel unsure about how to respond and you don’t need to have all the answers. Choosing any response is better than remaining silent.

Say something if you’re worried about the person or if the situation leaves you feeling concerned. Ask the person how they are doing and whether you can help:

Are you okay? I saw what happened and I was wondering if there is anything I can do?

It’s ok to express your concern with a faculty/staff member at Brescia in order to provide the support needed. You can report it with or without names to a person who is better able to intervene.

Do Something: Reach Out & Help
  • Interrupt or distract the behavior to abruptly end it
  • Address the “elephant in the room”
  • Name what is happening in terms of yourself: “I feel _____ when you ____. Please don’t do that anymore.”
  • Use body language to show disapproval
  • Change perspective: “What if somebody just said that about someone you care about?”

If you are an employee who has witnessed or believed you may have witnessed an incident of sexual violence, you are required to report it. You may do so using the Online Disclosure Form or directly reporting it to the Vice-Principal, Students and/or Director, Human Resources.

You may wish to access the services of the Employee Assistance Program at 1-877-433-0701 after witnessing or becoming aware of and reporting an incident of sexual violence.

Information from: Darley & Latane’s Bystander Intervention Model, UBC Access & Diversity: Really? Campaign, & MIT bystander intervention program