Instruments to Assist Teenagers Speak About Sexual Assault and Harassment

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Tools to Help Teens Talk About Sexual Assault and Harassment

There are several ways you can be a supportive friend or ally to someone who has experienced sexual harassment or assault. This includes raising awareness, speaking when you see or hear any suspicious, risky, or dangerous behavior, and empathizing with survivors.

Ramis Banuri, 19, from Salt Lake City, Utah, said he speaks whenever he can and tries to get others to do the same. "People don't necessarily want to step in because there is this notion that it's not your business and they don't want to be embarrassed if they get a situation wrong," he said. "I tell them," Would you rather be ashamed for a moment about a little situation that nobody will really remember, or sorry because you were right and could have prevented someone from getting hurt? "

Spectator intervention is a strategy to prevent harassment and assault from occurring or continuing. The goal is to disrupt what feels like a charged moment before things can escalate. Every situation is different and there is no single way to intervene. However, here are some guidelines from the Green Dot program, a widely used audience intervention training system that encourages people to trade with what are known as the three Ds.

Direct intervention is straightforward. If someone is using sexist language or is uncomfortable with sexual comments or jokes, they could say, "Hey, this makes people uncomfortable – this is harassment. Stop." Or, "You had way too much to drink. You are in no condition to even think about joining – let's get you home."

You can also break a risky dynamic with a distraction. If someone is making another person uncomfortable with their attention, you might say, “Hey, the guys are looking for you downstairs. Let's see what's going on. "

In other situations, you can delegate to someone who has more training, authority, or social leverage and who may intervene more effectively.

If you see someone you don't know is acting inappropriately, tell the people they came with and encourage them to step in. If you witness a couple fight and it seems to be getting physical, find a trusted adult or figure of authority, or call the police.

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