Bystander Intervention Skills


You can interrupt sketchy behaviour at a bar, concert, or a party to prevent
sexual violence.

These skills are new for lots of folks! Just like first aid, these strategies require learning, relearning, and practice.

SACHA has got your back! If you see something sketchy and you unsure how to take action, you can call SACHA’s 24 Hour Support Line to chat about ideas and options – 905.525.4162.

The number one action you can take RIGHT NOW is:

Bystander Intervention Skills


Don’t go it alone. Gather your peeps. Who is near that can help?A friend? Security staff? Even if it’s just to validate that the behaviour is not OK.

  • “I think she needs our help, but I don’t know what to do. Have any ideas?”
  • “Will you watch while I go chat with them?”


Approach either the person being targeted or the person doing the harassing and be direct.

  • “Are you OK?”
  • “Can I help you?”
  • “That’s not OK.”
  • “You need to stop.”


Think of a way to distract the folks involved in the situation: either the person being targeted or the person doing the harassing.

  • “Can you take a pic of my friends and I?”
  • “What time is it?”
  • “Where’s the washrooms?”
  • “That’s a FAB outfit! Where did you get it?”
  • “My friend’s gone missing. Can you help me find them?”


Make a record or keep your eye on the situation in case it escalates.

Bystander Intervention by SACHA



McMaster Welcome Week Training

In the last eight days, SACHA and Equity and Inclusion Office at McMaster University trained nearly 400 Residence Life staff and reps on taking action to end rape culture and nearly 1300 Welcome Week Faculty reps on McMaster’s Sexual Violence Response Protocol.
We hope that this week is a kick off to year-round action to prevent sexual violence on campus.
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In the hour long workshop with staff and reps from Residence Life we talked about:


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Taking Action to End Sexual Violence


Ending sexual violence feels like a GIANT task, but there are small things that you can do every single day to work both to create a culture of consent, to stand up against rape culture, to question victim blaming, and to support survivors.

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  • Learn more about sexual violence – Listen to survivor stories, how abusers use power and control, how different forms of oppression intersect, recognizing rape culture happening every day, what enthusiastic consent looks like. So much to learn!
  • Practice your consent skills – It’s not just for sex! Asking for a hug or checking to see if you can take someone’s photo is a great way to practice consent every day.
  • Think and prepare – Treat bystander intervention like first aid! Read up on what you could do before situations happen. Talk with friends, read articles, brainstorm ideas.
  • Take ACTION! – Now that you’ve thought about it, use one of your many tools to challenge oppressive or sketchy behaviour.
  • Speak OUT! – Create a video, zine, piece of art, write a blog post, post articles and infographics, talk with friends.
  • Support Survivors – Listen to them. Believe them. Ask them how you can help.

Need someone to bounce ideas off of? Call SACHA’s Support Line to talk about how you can take action every day – 905.525.4162.

Talking About Rape Culture and Consent with McMaster Student Leaders


Last year SACHA trained over 2000 Welcome Week representatives.

Our training included the dynamics and statistics of sexual violence, the common myths and lies that we’re taught, what is rape culture, and how we take action during Welcome Week and all year to create a culture of consent.

Today we met with student leaders, McMaster Welcome Week planners,  to talk about how the training went and how we are doing at ending rape culture at McMaster and creating a culture of consent.


We answered questions like:

  • A year later, what is really sticking with you from SACHA’s consent workshop?
  • How did it feel to be in a workshop about consent?
  • What skills did you learn?
  • How did you take action to interrupt rape culture in the past year?

Quite often when we talk about bystander intervention, interrupting rape culture, or consent, we never get the chance to actually practice what those skills will look like in real life.


One group of students would come up with an example of rape culture (someone saying ‘I raped that test’, an experienced Welcome Week rep trying to take a drunk first year home to have sex, a DJ playing the song ‘Blurred Lines’ at a Welcome Week event) and the other group had to come up with ways to respond.

Students talked about an event at last year’s Welcome Week where the DJ played the song Blurred Lines and everyone on the dance floor stopped dancing, made big X’s with their arms, and chanted ‘consent is sexy’ until the song was changed.

In our last activity we created art about what a world without rape culture would look like.

Friday’s workshop was just the first of many SACHA workshops happening over Welcome Week!

Follow SACHA on Twitter (@SACHA_tweets) for updates about our workshops.