Students and staff at University of Massachusetts are implementing a campaign to stop sexual assault. The goal of their campaign is to educate students how to step- in when witnessing women being approached or sexually assaulted.
“The goal of the bystander intervention program is to block bad behavior before it crosses the line from drunken partying to rape.”
They hope that by creating this program and educating students, their sexual assault rate will decline. You would think that the situation would be common sense and that a friend or person nearby at a party would step-in; however research has found that being the one to intervene can, at times, be tricky and hard to handle. That is when the “bystander intervention program” comes into play. Jane Stapleton is a researcher at the University of Massachusetts; she implements this program at Universities across the country including Europe.
On January 22nd President Obama commented during a white house meeting on sexual violence that “Bystanders must be taught and emboldened to step in and stop it.”
The objective is to implement this program and educate students on campuses around the country; impacting students and campus and culture enough to reduce the number of events. They hope to make this campaign as effective as other programs such as; designated driver campaign and mothers against drunk driving.
I think that this campaign is extremely important and should be required by all Colleges, community or university, to take on this program and educate their students. I would specifically require the program to be taught to Freshmen or transfer students too. This is due to the idea that freshmen are young, more vulnerable, and often times more inexperienced when handling alcohol and situations such as declining men in a drunken party environment. One of the lessons given in this article was to the football team of the University. They were taught how to handle situations and when to intervene. I think this is a great way to implement this campaign because what better than teach young, atheletic, strong men how to look out for young vulnerable women at their school. Daniel Rowe, a sophmore on the New Hampshire University football team commented “Maybe you don’t get the girl,” he said, “but you’ll keep your scholarship and still be on the team.”
It is an idea that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and should be promoted throughout every college dorm, club, sports team, and classroom. They should think outside the box promoting and teaching the program to off campus places such as clubs and party venues; educating employees how to look out for assault situations, and how they may handle the situation differently in a club/ bar environment. Creating the campaign and hoping it makes as strong an impact as the “mothers against drunk driving” is a goal I hope can be reached.
To read more about the Bystander Intervention click this link below: