6 Bystander Intervention Tips for New Year’s Eve

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on December 27, 2016. Enjoy!

At a nightclub late one Halloween night, a group of guys wouldn’t leave a pair of women alone. They kept grabbing them trying to dance, rubbing against them, even though the women were visibly uncomfortable.

My friend and I sprung into action.

We started talking with the women and asked if they wanted to dance with us. They said yes, and we started thrashing around. When a man approached, we’d dance even more erratically, forming a physical shield between the women and the creeps under the guise of crazy dancing.

Security ended up escorting the men out, and the women thanked us for keeping an eye out for them.

Of course, this New Year’s Eve, you don’t have to harness the power of movement to intervene in a situation that doesn’t feel right. Here are a handful of bystander intervention tips to make sure everyone ushers in 2018 safe and happy.

1. Talk to the target

A popular comic by Paris artist Maeril shows ways people can step in when they witness Islamophobic harassment. One key action was stepping in and talking to the target, while ignoring the perpetrator.

We can use this principle for other forms of harassment as well. Just talking with someone, asking if they’re OK or engaging them in conversation, lets the target know we are there for them, as well as letting the perp know the target has people looking out for them.

2. Create a diversion

Something as simple as “accidentally” spilling a drink, asking where the bathroom is or stepping into a dance can distract a perpetrator long enough for someone being targeted to step away.

3. Call a taxi

Follow the lead of a Washington, D.C., bartender who witnessed someone persistently hitting on another person who didn’t seem interested.

When the guy finally left to go to the bathroom, the bartender asked if the woman was OK. When the woman said she needed an out, the employee called a cab and let her out the back door.

4. Call out the perpetrator

If you feel safe, directly telling the perpetrator to lay off may be effective – particularly if you’re friends with them.

Saying something as simple as, “Leave them alone” or “Come on. They’re not interested,” can help.

5. Talk to security

If you’re in a public place like a nightclub and feel that the situation is out of your control, don’t be afraid to reach out to security for help.

6. Call 911

If you feel unsafe but want to do something, there’s also no shame in calling 911. In a best case scenario, it’s better to overreact than do nothing.

How have you intervened in questionable situations? How did it go? Share in the comments.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

153 comments

Marie W
Marie W22 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Chad A
Chad Anderson2 months ago

Thank you.

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo R5 months ago

ty

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo R5 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R5 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R5 months ago

ty

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Jim V
Jim V5 months ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim V5 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Jerome S
Jerome S5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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