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  • Writer's pictureSAFE Bar Network

Obstacles. What obstacles? 3 Full Proof Everyday Active Bystander Steps

The SAFE Bar Network engages communities in preventing violence by partnering with bars and nightclubs to improve workplace culture through continued conversations about sexual violence, active bystander skills, and their responsibility to take action when someone is uncomfortable or unsafe.

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You don’t have to work in a bar or nightclub to notice when someone is uncomfortable, take action to help them, and give support. Our simple active bystander skills work for anyone, anywhere. Here are three steps that you can practice every day.

1. Notice. You don’t have to be an expert on the dynamics of sexual harassment and sexual assault to notice when something isn’t right. Trust your gut. If you see someone is uncomfortable or unsafe take action. Watch this quick video for examples of things to notice.

2. Take Action. For far too long we’ve talked about bystander intervention as if there is only one solution – to put on a cape, be the hero, and confront the person causing the problem. Yes, that works. But there are so many other options that work just as well and maybe better for the situation.

· Do Something Yourself. Talk to the person causing the problem, check in with the person being hurt.

· Get Others to Help. Get your outgoing friend to say something, check-in with the people around you and make it a team effort.

· Talk About Something Else. Create a cleaver distraction by starting a conversation, or say you need help finding the restroom, this is your chance to be creative.

For more on the steps you can take check out this short video.

3. Give Support. Get Support. There are going to be times when you take action and it feels really good. But there are also going to be times when you try to help someone and it’s a bit more complicated. Maybe it doesn’t feel good. Maybe you’re not sure how to feel. Tell someone you trust what happened, call a hotline, message the SAFE Bar Network. And when the time comes, be ready to pay-it-forward by offering support to someone else. Learn how supporting others can change the culture, watch here.

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A quick note about obstacles. There will always be things that get in the way of you helping someone when you notice something concerning. Stepping in to help is not about overcoming these obstacles, it’s about finding solutions that work for you.

There are everyday active bystanders practicing these skills every day. Hear their stories here, Everyday Active Bystanders.

If you have a favorite bar, restaurant or night club encourage them to join the SAFE Bar Network. They can learn more at

Curious about what bar owners have to say about the SAFE Bar Network? Watch this quick video to hear from bar owner and SAFE Bar Network founder Kevin Fitzpatrick.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault our partners can help. Visit MOCSA and RAINN

Interested in learning more about bystander intervention? Visit our friends at With Us Center for Bystander Intervention.

To learn more about the field of sexual violence response and prevention visit PreventConnect and NSVRC.

*Adapted from the Green DOT, Alteristic

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