April is a month dedicated to survivors of sexual assault, and even though it is a sensitive topic it is important to discuss. Consent is the one key component and result of sexual violence. People who have experienced sexual violence suffer from mental and physical effects short and long term. Some of these include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, eating disorders and tons more. It is important to be a bystander and notice warning signs and ways to prevent it from happening. These types of events usually take place at a party where alcohol is involved, and become very serious. There is a bystander method titled the 3 D’s in order to try and prevent it from happening, I am going to describe it in the paragraphs to come.
The first D is “distracting” and might be one of the easier of the three. If you are at a party and notice signs of someone who is very intoxicated from of how much they drank, pay attention. If someone around them starts acting touchy, or saying things like “Can I buy you another drink,” or something along those lines immediately create a distraction. Maybe walk over and spill the person’s drink, make up a conversation, or ask them an irrelevant question. These are ways to create a distraction and get the person out of that situation in order for them to be safe.
The next D is “delegating” which can be a bit difficult in this type of occurrence. Delegating is having someone you are with or know intervening in the situation if you do not feel comfortable doing it yourself. Notify someone you trust or an authority figure that will help you handle and identify the situation. Sometimes it can be hard to notice that someone is very unaware of their surroundings or notice that there is a problem with what you are seeing; however, it is okay to ask for help. In the end it could save someone’s life, and that is all that matters.
The last D in this bystander method is “direct,” and it goes exactly how it sounds. Go up to the person who is about to commit this crime to someone and be direct. It can be difficult to do this, especially in today’s society. People are afraid that they will look like a snitch, lose friends, embarrass themselves, form the wrong opinion about the situation that is happening etc. These types of situations can be scary and hard to be direct towards; however, if you notice something speak up and make a difference in someone’s life.
All in all, sexual assault can lead to serious outcomes in a person’s life. I said before that consent is a key concept, but you cannot give consent if you are intoxicated. A person can still say yes when they are intoxicated, but it can still be considered assault because when a person is intoxicated to that severity they may have no memory, or ability to speak words. The message here is not to stand around and watch it happen, but be a bystander and stick up for someone who may be in need of that support. Also, be safe when you are out; go with a group of people you trust and stick together the entire evening.