While the perpetrators of violence (like intimate partner violence, domestic violence, or sexual assault) are solely responsible for their crimes, we all play a role in creating safe spaces and looking out for each other. Recognizing the signs or situations that can lead to violence can help us stay safe – or intervene if needed.
Once you know when to respond, you can decide how to respond in a way that feels appropriate and comfortable.
Is It Safe?
Some violent situations are pretty obvious, like seeing someone who is angry and drunk or hearing screaming coming from a neighbor’s home. But other situations are more subtle, like someone making repeated, unwanted sexual comments about how a person looks. Follow your gut feelings here. If it feels wrong to you, it probably is. A good question to ask yourself is: “If I don’t act, could the situation get worse?” If YES, then you should decide the best way to intervene.
- IF YOU SEE: Mean or degrading speech
- SAY: Are you okay?
- IF YOU SEE: Unwanted touch
- SAY: Is there anyone I can call for you?
- IF YOU SEE: Physical violence (pushing, hitting, slapping)
- SAY: Let’s leave.
- IF YOU SEE: Coercion
- SAY: They asked you to stop.
- IF YOU SEE: Manipulation
- SAY: How can I help?
- IF YOU SEE: Unwanted following
- SAY: I’m worried about you
- IF YOU SEE: Concerning texts or social media posts
- SAY: Is everything okay?
Next, get some tips that can help you to take an active role in creating safe spaces and interrupting situations that may lead to sexual assault and domestic violence.