While there is significant media coverage of the gang rape in Richmond California, few articles highlight the need for sexual violence programs. Here is a Newsweek article called Bystanders No More: Teaching Kids to Respond to Violent Crime that highlights how positive bystander response can make a difference. The article includes ideas from nationally recognized programs like Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) , Bringing in the Bystander and Green Dot. Many of these have been highlighted in PreventConnect interviews and web conferences.

Here are some points made by Community Violence Solutions, the rape crisis center in Contra Costa County, to highlight the need for bystander actions.

  • Bystanders have responsibility BUT need support to be taught how to intercede appropriately to stop this crime in all its forms.
  • Addressing bystander behavior is a pivotal element in stopping violence against women – most men WOULD step up if they know how… IT TRULY ONLY TAKES ONE INDIVIDUAL TO CHANGE A TIDE
David Lee

More Posts by David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project PreventConnect, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 27 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Deborrah Cooper November 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

I agree that people might feel more confident if they had instruction in how to safely intervene in cases where they witnessed rape. However, in too many cases they not only watch, but stand around taking the time to film and photograph the event with their cell phones BEFORE WALKING AWAY. Once they are safely away from the crime, with proof of the crime on their phones, why would they THEN not report the crime? There is something much deeper going on here and I seriously doubt that it has much to do with not knowing what to do or how to do it. These bystanders are CHOOSING not to intervene for whatever reason they have. The answer to why is the question I want the answer to.

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