Harm Reduction: 6 D's of Bystander Intervention

We all play an active role in making Bass Coast, Safe Coast. Learning the of 6 D’s of bystander intervention can support you to feel empowered to step up and speak up when witnessing harassment. 

1) Detect: What are we looking for? Body language is often the first cue in noticing discomfort. Things like grinding and groping on the dance floor can be totally normal between two consenting people, but not if it’s unwanted. Having an awareness of your surroundings can help you spot a situation that might be going sideways.

 2) Direct: Being direct means naming the behaviour and stating what needs to stop.This type of intervention requires you to be calm, assertive and confident in your message while also refraining from escalating the situation. Referencing the Bass Coast Code of Conduct to reference can make this form of intervention more straightforward.

3) Distract: Creating a distraction is one way to interrupt the power imbalances when witnessing harassment. It involves approaching the the individuals and asking questions or making a bit of a scene, which can create an opportunity for the target to exit the situation. This is an ideal situation for those who feel a bit awkward being direct. You might pretend to spill your drink or ask a silly question to shift the attention for the person being targeted.

4) Delegate: If you do not feel comfortable intervening then delegating is a useful and equally helpful tool of intervention. Find an opportunity to get someone else involved, whether this is a friend, Harm Reduction volunteer or security guard.  This can take the pressure off you if you do not feel safe to speak up. 

5) Delay: If you did not get a chance to intervene when you saw the harassment happening, you can delay leaving the situation until you’ve had a chance to check-in with the person who was being targeted. This can be so simple yet so validating for the person who experienced harassment.

6) Dialogue: Continue to speak up and keep the dialogue open. Harassment can manifest as micro-aggressions that reinforce gender and racial stereotypes. Use your voice and continue the conversation about harassment with your friends and community. 

Find more Harm Reduction resources here. 

Information for this blog post was provided by Good Night Out Vancouver.

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