stopviolenceuw

Be A B.A.D.A.S.S.

In Uncategorized on September 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I’ve gotten a lot of people asking me how they can get involved in preventing sexual violence on campus.  And there are a TON of different ways to do it!

You can join the Step Up Peer Educators RSO  or help establish a new men’s RSO   focusing on how men can help end sexual violence.  You can attend the STOP Violence Coalition meetings once a month or schedule a program with the STOP Violence Program Coordinator.  Even just attending an event about sexual violence helps raise awareness.  Check out these options at: http://www.uwyo.edu/stop/Get%20Involved/index.html 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: I’m far too busy to join another RSO or attend a program.  I get it.  College is hectic and you’ve got a billion things on your schedule.  It’d be nearly impossible to fit something else in.  But there is one thing that you can do that doesn’t require you to attend any meetings, join any organizations, or do anything outside of your ordinary schedule.

All you need to do is be a B.A.D.A.S.S.*

The next time you’re out with your friends or at a party, I want you to remember this simple B.A.D.A.S.S. mantra:
                Be
                Aware
                Decide to
                Act
                Say
                Something

Essentially, what this means is to be an “active bystander.”   There is a phenomenon call the “bystander effect.”  This means, that if someone is in trouble and they are surrounded by a group of people, it is very likely that no one will help.  Watch this short video to see the bystander effect in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSsPfbup0ac

     Now, I want you to think to yourself about a time when you saw something bad going down, but you didn’t do anything about it, either because you didn’t know what to do, whether it was really a problem, or because no one else seemed bothered.  It’s okay to admit this.  We’ve all been that bystander at one point or another that sees something bad happen.

I’ll give you an example.  A couple of weeks ago, I told a story about one of my sorority sisters who was assaulted at a party.  Well, what I didn’t tell you was that I knew that she was too drunk to stay at the party, knew that this guy wanted to have sex with her, and knew that if I left, something would go down.  But I went home anyway, hoping that someone else would be able to watch her and intervene.  The next morning, she told me that he had raped her.

I regret this every time I think about it.

The point is, there is something that you can do when you are out with your friends.  You can protect someone you know or someone you don’t from being sexually assaulted by following the B.A.D.A.S.S.  mantra.

  1.  Be Aware.
    Know what things can lead to sexual violence and look for those signs.  For example, alcohol is the number one date rape drug.  So, be aware of how much you are drinking or of how much your friends are drinking (male or female). 
  2. Decide to Act.
    Noticing that something could go down and doing something about it are two very different things.  In my case, I knew that my sister was in danger, but I didn’t do anything about it.  I didn’t say anything.  I didn’t make her come home with me.  I didn’t decide to act – I remained a bystander.  So, when you see a situation that could lead to sexual violence, you need to make that personal decision that, regardless of what other people may think or whether you’re afraid to be embarrassed or whatever, you will do something to stop this bad thing from happening.
  3. Say Something.
    If I had said something to my sister and pulled her out of that situation, she would not have gone through what was to be one of the worst experiences of her life.  Saying something takes guts!  It’s not easy to step into a situation and say something.  But it doesn’t have to be super awkward.  You don’t need to step in and say, “Halt!  I’m afraid this situation is looking too perilous.  You all need to return to your homes and sober up before you continue with this flirting.”  Instead, you can say, “Hey, you are way too drunk.  Let’s get you home.  I called the DD.”  Or, you can even make it about you, “Dude, I am so wasted.  Could you help me get home?  I called the DD already.”

I know that being a B.A.D.A.S.S.  isn’t going to be easy.  It’s going to take courage.  Much more courage than I had as a sophomore in college.  I wasn’t there for my sorority sister the way I could have been, should have been.

But this doesn’t have to be your story.  You can be a B.A.D.A.S.S. and make a difference in someone’s life.

To learn more about bystander intervention and how to intervene, check out: http://www.uwyo.edu/stop/Get%20Involved/bystanderintervention.html

Feel free to comment or send me an email (jarthur2@uwyo.edu) about how you can be an active bystander or to tell a story when you were a bystander.

*Note: B.A.D.A.S.S. is a program run by Colorado College.  I have borrowed their mantra, with their permission, for educational purposes only.

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