Title IX Nondiscrimination

Bystander Intervention and Risk Reduction


Bystander Intervention
Every member of the High Point University community can play a role in facilitating safe and positive options. If community members look at potentially harmful situations through the lens of a bystander, there are options to intervene to prevent harm or intervene in situations of potential harm when there is a risk of domestic violence, dating violence, non-consensual sexual penetration, or stalking. Everyone has options to intervene when they see something they think could be potentially harmful,

1. Direct: Approach the situation directly. Say, “what’s going on?” or, “where are you going?”
2. Delegate: Contact the Resident Assistant campus security. Or, find their friend to intervene.
3. Distract: Do something to take attention away from the situation. Say, “security is coming,” or, do something silly to distract.

Remember, you have options. If we all do one small action, we can create an environment that is intolerant of harmful behavior.

Risk Reduction
Every student at High Point University should expect to be treated with respect in their relationships. HPU is committed to the safety and welfare of all students. When such relationships are no longer healthy or become violent or demeaning, we want every student to call for assistance and support. We encourage our entire community to be an active bystander. When you see something, say or do something. At HPU, we want to have a community that is safe and one where all students are encouraged to look out for the well being of their fellow students.

Ways to Reduce the Risk of Violence
The goal of these risk reduction strategies is to raise the awareness that sexual misconduct and gender based violence happens at High Point University. While preventing sexual violence often involves grappling with the norms and cultural expectations of today’s society, there are ways that an individual can lessen the likelihood of being assaulted or being implicated in a non-consensual sexual assault event. As you are reading these risk reduction strategies, please remember that if someone is assaulted, it is never their fault.

In social situations:
• Be an active bystander: direct, delegate, or distract when you see something potentially harmful.
• Get clear, unambiguous consent for every aspect of sexual activity.
• If someone says no or looks uncomfortable, stop what is happening.
• Ask for clarification if there are mixed messages.
• Communicate boundaries and expectations.
• Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or worried for any reason, don’t ignore these feelings. Go with your gut and get out of the situation.
• Have a backup plan. Sometimes plans change quickly. You might realize it’s not safe for you to drive home, or the group you arrived with might decide to go somewhere you don’t feel comfortable. Download a rideshare app, like Uber, or keep the number for a reliable cab company saved in your phone and cash on hand in case you decide to leave.

When alcohol is involved:
• Keep an eye on your friends. If you are going out in a group, plan to arrive together and leave together. If you decide to leave early, let your friends know. If you’re at a party, check in with them during the night to see how they’re doing. If something doesn’t look right, step in. Don’t be afraid to let a friend know if something is making you uncomfortable or if you are worried about their safety.
• Know what you’re drinking. Don’t recognize an ingredient? Use your phone to look it up. Consider avoiding large-batch drinks like punches or “jungle juice” that may have a deceptively high alcohol content. There is no way to know exactly what was used to create these drinks.

• Don’t leave a drink unattended. That includes when you use the bathroom, go dancing, or leave to make a phone call. Either take the drink with you or throw it out. Avoid using the same cup to refill your drink.
• Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust. This can be challenging in some settings, like a party or a date. If you choose to accept a drink from someone you’ve just met, try to go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself.
• Check in with yourself. You might have heard the expression “know your limits.” Whether you drink regularly or not, check in with yourself periodically to register how you feel.
• Be aware of sudden changes in the way your body feels. Do you feel more intoxicated than you should? Some drugs are odorless, colorless and/or tasteless, and can be added to your drink without you noticing. If you feel uncomfortable, tell a friend and have them take you to a safe place. If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, call 911, and be upfront with healthcare professionals so they can administer the right tests.
• Ask yourself, “Would I do this if I was sober?” Alcohol can have an effect on your overall judgment. You wouldn’t drive, make medical decisions, or ride a bike while intoxicated.

Like any safety tips, these are not foolproof or a guarantee, but High Point University encourages you to consider using one or many of them in social situations.

If you want to learn more, or have questions about more ways to reduce risk in our community, contact the Title IX Coordinator at 336-841-9138 or the Prevention Specialist at 336-841-9615.

From: (2018)