How to Engage the Greek Community in Bystander Intervention

Posted by Katie Brown on 17 November 2016 |

how to engage the greek community in bystander interventionBystander Intervention and the Campus Community

Bystander intervention is one of the top ways to prevent sexual assault on campus. Studies show that communities and campuses with more active bystanders have lower incidences of abuse, violence and assault.

When the entire campus serves as active bystanders, the campus culture can shift because the community becomes an ally. One intervention at a time, community members become part of the solution to prevent sexual assault on campus.

And there are many different ways bystanders can help—in particular, those students in fraternaties and sororities..

The Greek Community’s Role in Bystander Intervention

One group on campus that can really make a difference in supporting bystander intervention and stopping sexual violence is students who participate in their campus’s Greek communities.

At its core, the mission of fraternities and sororities is to develop brotherhood and sisterhoods among their members to build character, develop leaders, serve their communities and achieve academic and professional success.

However, recent media attention around campus sexual assault has painted a much different picture. From rush parties and pledge hazing to socials and formals, there are many Greek life events that have gained a reputation for excessive drinking, vulgarity and drug use, all of which have contributed to instances of sexual assault.

Whether a victim or bystander, it’s important to recognize the dangers and warning signs of sexual assault and abuse. Maybe your friend has had too much to drink and is walking away with a stranger, or someone is making inappropriate or forceful advances toward you. As a proactive bystander, it’s not only important to stop the present act, but to inform someone of the intervention.

To stop the cycle of campus sexual assault, the members of Greek life play an important role. Through awareness of campus sexual assault instances or attempts, the Greek community—male and female—can work toward educating its members on the importance of bystander intervention, as well as alcohol safety to prevent victims from exposure to assault or danger.

How to Be a Better Bystander

Whether a member of the Greek or campus community, sexual assault can take place anywhere on and off campus, and the entire community needs to be educated on how to react proactively.

To be a proactive bystander, you should:

  1. Understand how important your role is in preventing campus sexual assault
  2. Keep an eye out for your friends at parties, especially if they’ve had too much to drink
  3. Help friends find safety if they are in a dangerous situation
  4. Contact security or the police if someone is in danger
  5. Change the subject to stay away from sexist or suggestive conversations
  6. Encourage friends and colleagues to be active bystanders
  7. Offering emotional support to a victim
  8. Physically intervene if someone is being taken advantage of
  9. Report instances of physical, as well as verbal or emotional, assault


For campus and Greek life students interested in learning more about campus sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention, check out some of Campus Answers’ recent blogs and training courses:

For students, faculty and staff who are interested in learning more about Title IX and how to recognize and protect themselves against sexual violence and assault, please view our VAWA, Title IX and Clery Act Compliance Training Course

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