Workshop Aims to Curb Domestic Violence Through Bystander Intervention


Justin Barbosa/San Jacinto Times

Bringing in the Bystander encourages participants to intervene when they recognize a problem developing.

Students and faculty gathered on the San Jacinto College South Campus Nov. 10 for Bringing in the Bystander, a workshop highlighting domestic violence presented as a joint effort by Student Engagement and Activities (SEA) from the three campuses.

The event educated participants on issues of rape and violence, but further emphasized an approach of bystander intervention as a means for ending violence against women.

Now in its second year, the workshop was hosted by Amanda Rose, the SEA coordinator on the Central Campus and Erin Lewis, SEA coordinator on the North Campus.

“Bringing in the Bystander is a program designed by the University of New Hampshire’s Prevention Innovations Institute and is built on years of research and best practices,” Daniel Byars, South Campus SEA coordinator said.

The program encourages participants to intervene when they recognize a problem developing, to curb what Byars called the “Bystander Phenomenon;” a mindset stemming from the belief that someone else will help a potential victim.

Rose and Lewis educated participants by presenting actual cases and stories of victims that were raped, sexually assaulted, or killed. They discussed different situations and attendees attempted to determine who the bystander was in each case. Also, they participated in role-playing scenarios that gauged participants’ reactions when finding themselves as a bystander in a domestic violence situation. 

“The program itself uses videos, lectures, and interactive discussions/activities such as working through scenarios together to help participants recognize their role as a bystander to situations where others may be in danger, and teach them to safely act as an effective bystander to stop the situation or get help from emergency responders,” Byars said.

Furthermore, Rose and Lewis examined the meaning of sexual consent through a video that metaphorically equated the theme of “no means no” to the refusal of a simple offering of tea.

Meanwhile, Byars said the point of the workshop is to empower students, faculty, and staff so if they see something, they will make the choice to help. He further added, part of that objective is to make the college community “okay with saying, ‘Hey. I just saw something. How can I really help and in a way that’s safe for me?’”