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  • Writer's pictureSAFE Bar Network

Summer's Almost Here. Are you Ready? 3 Bystander Tips to use all Summer Long.

Memorial Day is just around the corner. A time to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the military. It's not just a day that we celebrate and remember the fallen, it's an entire 3 day weekend of remembrance. For many, it also marks the first weekend of summer celebrated by barbeques, parties, and trips to the beach, lake, and pool.


For years, working at a rape crisis and response center in Kansas City, Missouri, Memorial Day marked the beginning of an increase in crisis line calls, and request for advocates to respond to the hospital to be with a victim of sexual violence during an exam.

For some people, coming together to celebrate summer, spending time with friends, meeting new people, and enjoying their favorite drink ends in someone harming them. We know that about 50% of sexual assaults involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim, or both.

At the SAFE Bar Network, we partner with bars and other alcohol-serving venues to give everyone a safe night out. How do we do it? Through continued conversations about noticing when someone is unsafe or uncomfortable, interrupting in a way that helps, and supporting each other to take action.

The skills are simple, the magic happens when we come together to have a conversation about creating safe spaces. Here are three simple active bystander skills that you can practice every day.

1. Notice. You don’t have to be an expert on the dynamics of harassment 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.

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 may be 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 ideas 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 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.


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.

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

The SAFE Bar Network is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) you can join the team by donating your time, talent, and money to the mission of giving everyone a SAFE Night Out, just click here.

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

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

To learn more about the field of violence response and prevention visit and

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