Intervene Safely

How can I help a survivor of sexual assault?
Addressing and helping a survivor of sexual assault is all about starting from the micro level and engaging from the choices we make, and staying engaged when we need to act. It is important to learn how to intervene as a bystander when you encounter a case of sexual assault. Make use of the resources on the app to find help for the survivor immediately – but do so with the consent of the survivor.

While the following information is instructional in a way to encourage you to equip yourself to react to a situation, it is important that you make sure to never put your own safety at risk. Therefore, this guide must be treated as a support – when there is danger that you cannot handle, your best bet is to call the police immediately.

1) Work with a group: The most important step in any effort to disrupt a potential case of violence is to work with a group. It can often be difficult, scary and intimidating to approach a situation by yourself. Call on trusted friends, or other bystanders, to join you to approach the person facing the threat or currently vulnerable to violence. It is good to do this in numbers because it tends to put the person causing harm at a disadvantage. You could also seek out friends or people close to the vulnerable individual so that they are also able to support you as you intervene.

2) Create a disruption or a distraction: If you scream, shout or create a distraction, you might succeed in creating a disruption, which can help a survivor get away from the immediate danger. Do not do this unless you are sure that distraction or disruption will cause you no harm. For example, if you notice growing room for violence in a social group you are part of, change the topic loudly with a diversion, or start an activity that will let you keep the parties involved apart.

3) Address the person in trouble: When someone shares that an incident has happened, offer up help to the extent that you can – for instance, you may offer up a resource from this app, or you may offer to call on an individual they trust to take them home, or, you may round up a few more individuals to get the person help. You could also offer medical help if there are wounds, and take them to the nearest medical support if they are open to it. Offer your time and effort, and if they may need some money to get home or to get to safety, you could support them on that front, too.

4) Call the authorities: The safest way to intervene is to call an authority or a neutral agent who can support the individual – this could be the police, an NGO working for survivors in need of help, or a security guard, depending on where you are. If it is at a public place like a restaurant, a pub or a movie theatre, speak to managers / administrators / staff of the place to make them respond to customer safety needs. 

In the Media

Reach
Chennai, India