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Bystander intervention training at Tech

By Jeremy Adams
On February 26, 2019

A Nashville outreach and advocacy specialist spoke during a Feb. 19 event in the Tech Pride Room about four techniques a bystander could use to help prevent rapes.

The Women’s Center at Tech sponsored the program and invited You Have the Power from Nashville to talk about bystander intervention. 

One in four college women have experienced rape or an attempted rape, Sharon Travis, outreach and advocacy specialist, said.

“It is usually someone you know, not a stranger that does this.” Travis said. “Victims think they won’t be believed, they won’t be supported, and they think that it’s their fault it happened.”

The 15 students in attendance watched a 20-second video of a man dropping something into a woman’s drink at a bar when she leaves for the bathroom.

“What should we do now?” Travis asked participants.

There are four ways a bystander can help in this situation.

  1. Distract
    1. “Accidentally” spill the drink believed to contain the drug.
    2. Simply ask the time.
  2. Delegate
    1. If in a group, get someone to orchestrate a distraction while someone else informs the victim.
    2. Have someone in the group go get a bouncer or security.
  3. Be Direct
    1. As a bystander, stare down the person who put the drug into the drink.
    2. Tell the person responsible they need to leave

“You need to try to stay safe while doing this. You don’t want to be punched in the nose.” Travis said.

  1. Document
    1. If possible, record details about the incident in case the information is needed by police.


The audience also watched part of a documentary titled “I never thought it was rape” that showed three women who were raped and the similarities between them.

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