Hollaback! is on a mission to end street harassment in all forms. In this video, we take a look at their framework for everyone to empower themselves to intervene safely when they spot harassment. Watch this video template to learn Hollaback!'s 5 Ds of Bystander Intervention. You can customize this video for your context, and share it with your community. Together, we can protect the most vulnerable among us and prevent hate crimes and harassment.
Have you ever seen someone being publicly harassed but had no idea how to help at that time, you might have chosen to walk away as a bystander.
You can help prevent, derail or discourage acts of harassment. Here are five tactics to effectively intervene when you spot harassment, also known as the five days of bystander intervention.
Distraction is a creative, non-confrontational way to shift attention and interrupt harassment. You can ask for the time or directions, pretend you know the person being harassed and strike up a conversation about something random, create a commotion by spilling your coffee or dropping coins from your wallet.
Turning to a third party for help, depending on the situation, you can delegate to a friend or someone in a position of authority, like teachers or security guards, or peace officers equipped to de-escalate the situation unless it's a medical emergency. Don't contact the police and check in with the person being harassed first. Many communities that communities of color, trans communities, and immigrant communities may not feel safer with police presence.
Recording an incident when it happens can be helpful when done safely and responsibly. There are a few things to keep in mind, such as make sure someone else is doing something to disrupt the harassment before you start filming.
Maintain a safe distance from the incident, film landmarks, and clearly see the date and time. After filming give the documentation to the person being harassed, giving them the power to decide what happens next.
Sometimes harassers leave before anyone can intervene. You can still check in on the person targeted afterward. Some things that you can say are: Are you ok? I'm so sorry that happened to you. Is there anything you need? Do you want to report this incident? Can I accompany you somewhere?
Confronting the harasser is the most direct and riskiest intervention tactic before you step in, assess everyone's safety. If you feel safe to do so, you can confront the aggressor by naming the type of harassment, stating what you observe. After you clearly set the boundary, turn your attention away from the harasser and towards the person being harassed and checking on them. Don't engage with the harasser and get into a back and forth. Whichever tactic you choose at the moment, remember that your action can be impactful as bystanders. You hold the power to make a difference.