Being An Active Bystander

How to Recognize Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

Sometimes it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. If you or someone you know if concerned about being in an unhealthy relationship please consider reaching out to a supportive professional for help. Some warning signs are:

  • Checking your email or cell phone without permission
  • Isolating you from friends or family
  • Physically hurting you in any way
  • Calling you names, insulting you or putting you down
  • Preventing you from going to work or school
  • Telling you that no one else will be supportive of your sexual orientation
  • Trying to control how you spend money, where you go or what you wear
  • Forcing you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
  • Blaming you for his or her violent behavior and telling you that you deserve it

Active Bystander Intervention

A bystander is someone who hears or sees an incident but does not take part in the situation. An active bystander takes steps to address behaviors before a potentially unsafe event occurs. The following approach provides some steps to consider as an active bystander.

  • Consider safety first: Being an active bystander involves stepping in before a potentially dangerous situation occurs, planning for safety, and intervening in the safest ways possible. In order to do this, you must be aware of your surroundings and ask for additional support if needed.
  • Assess the situation: Investigate the situation further and figure out what tactic would likely be the most successful given the circumstances presented. There are a variety of ways to safely intervene that include but are not limited to talking to an individual to see if he or she is doing okay, using distraction to separate individuals, or even getting other people involved in helping behaviors.
  • Respond with respect for everyone: Remember that with whatever intervention you choose, it is important to respond with respect for everyone involved and to intervene in non-violent ways. It is also essential to show care for the victim. You can do this by asking them if they want or need medical care, if they want to talk to a counselor, or report the matter to law enforcement or campus security, and whether or not they have a safe place to go. Always refer individuals to trained professionals who can provide additional support.
  • Educate myself and others: Continue to seek education on bystander intervention and other relevant topics regarding violence prevention.

For more information about additional education and opportunities to provide advocacy please call the Student Life Office at (231) 995-1118.

RAINN (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network)

1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

If you wish to discuss a concern while maintaining confidence to the greatest extent possible, you have the following options:

  • Counseling professionals in the Student Life Office at (231) 995-1118 have a limited privilege to protect information shared with them, consistent with state and federal law.
  • Health care professionals in Health Services at (231) 995-1255 have a limited privilege to protect information shared with them, consistent with state and federal law.
  • The off-campus community resource, Women’s Resource Center at (231) 941-1210, can provide free confidential support and advocacy, but cannot arrange for campus-based services or accommodations.

Reporting to the Office for Civil Rights

Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 requires that all entities receiving federal funds or financial assistance prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment in their education programs and activities. If you feel that the college has not complied with the established policies under Title IX, you have the option to contact the Office for Civil Rights.

Incident reporting to the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is an option for resolution of discrimination. To file a complaint:

Reporting to the Office for Civil Rights

Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 requires that all entities receiving federal funds or financial assistance prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment in their education programs and activities.

Incident reporting to the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is an option for resolution of discrimination. To file a complaint:

THE OCR OFFICE FOR MICHIGAN IS LOCATED AT:

Cleveland Office
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 325
Cleveland, OH 44115-1812
Phone: (216) 522-4970
FAX: ( 216) 522-2573
TDD: (800) 877-8339
Email: OCR.Cleveland@ed.gov

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