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.
infog update O2

In the hour long workshop with staff and reps from Residence Life we talked about:


Continue reading

Cookies and Consent Follow Ups


Last Thursday Erin Crickett, SACHA’s Public Educations Coordinator was on a Cookies and Consent panel as part of McMaster University’s Welcome Week.

Crickett mentioned some links, videos, articles, Young Adult fiction, during the panel and the break out session afterwards about taking action to end sexual violence, which she promised to post here:

no more rape culture

Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as “just the way things are.”

infog update O2

  • SACHA’s infographic on how be involved in the movement to end gender based violence:

Men Taking Action Cropped

  • The Young Adult book Pointe by Brandi Colbert really shows how power plays a part of sexual violence and how many folks experience abuse are in love with their perpetrators and don’t label the relationship as abusive.

The more that I started talking about racism publicly, the more white people started reaching out to me for clarification; they’d say things like, I don’t want to seem racist, but I don’t know how or I was called racist and I don’t know what I did. I started to realize that these people reaching out to me to understand why someone was mad at them still pictured racists as white hooded men and they weren’t wearing hoods, so they thought themselves incapable of acting in a racist manner. I started to realize that my generation couldn’t redefine for everyone what a racist looks like; we have to define what racist actions are.

We have to let go of treating each other like not knowing, making mistakes, and saying the wrong thing make it impossible for us to ever do the right things.

And we have to remind ourselves that we once didn’t know. There are infinitely many more things we have yet to know and may never know.

We have to let go of a politic of disposability. We are what we’ve got. No one can be left to their fuck ups and the shame that comes with them because ultimately we’ll be leaving ourselves behind.

I want us to use love, compassion, and patience as tools for critical dialogue, fearless visioning, and transformation. I want us to use shared values and visions as proactive measures for securing our future freedom. I want us to be present and alive to see each other change in all of the intimate ways that we experience and enact violence.

If you’re like to invite SACHA to facilitate a workshop for your class, group, or workplace, contact Erin Crickett, SACHA’s Public Education Coordinator –

Highlights from Welcome Week Training


In one week SACHA trained over 1500 Welcome Week faculty reps, residence reps, as well as residence life staff Community Advisors. The forty minute training is an introduction to the statistics, Canadian law, rape myths, rape culture, and taking action.

For a longer recap, check out this storify.

We start out every workshop talking about about SACHA’s 24 Hour Support Line. Welcome Week reps can call the line if they have questions about supporting survivors, bystander intervention, and taking action to end rape culture.

We cover Canadian sexual assault law, what is sexual violence, and some quick statistics about sexual violence.

We ask folks what they look for in friends:

We confront some myths and lies that we’re taught about rape.

We talked about examples of rape culture in the media, at the bar, on the bus, and during Welcome Week:

Participants thought of ways that they can take action to end sexual violence every day.

Final thoughts:

Ending rape culture and creating a culture of consent takes more than one forty minute conversation. We’re excited to keep up the momentum and continue to have conversations throughout the year!

If you’d like to invite SACHA to lead a workshop with your group contact SACHA’s Public Education Coordinator, Erin Crickett –

Consent Education at McMaster University


In April 2012, SACHA -the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton & Area – in partnership with the YWCA Hamilton, initiated a project at McMaster University focused on engaging students (ages 17-24) in the prevention of violence against young women on campus. The information gathered through the “It’s Time” project informed eight key recommendations that could be addressed to better prevent violence against young women on McMaster’s campus.

For the past year, the Student Wellness Centre in partnership with Human Rights and Equity services have been leading the development of an annual, campus wide Education and Awareness Campaign intended to engage all aspects of the McMaster community on issues of violence against women and gender based violence (Recommendation #8). With much appreciated support from the Anti-Violence Network, the Women and Gender Equity Network, the Student Health and Education Centre and many interested students, the first component of the campaign is ready to be launched. This year as McMaster welcomes the first year class during Welcome Week (#MacWW2015), there will be messages about #consent on posters, brilliantly buttoned billboards, banners, buttons, condoms and even in some of the programming.  

Consent is NECESSARY in every sort of sexual encounter whether it is a hug, a kiss, a cuddle or penetrative sex.

Without consent, it is sexual assault!

And, consent is applicable for all situations that include sexual encounters such as a one night stand, a long term partnership, a date, a fling, a marriage, and no matter the gender or number of participants involved.

It is important to remember that everyone has different boundaries around sexual consent: some people may not want to have penetrative sex but may be okay with other activity,  some people may be unable to move into different positions because of physical abilities, some students may be unwilling or unable or opposed to engage in certain sexual encounters whether as a result of personal beliefs, culture, religion, familial expectations—or a combination of these things. All of this must be kept in mind when discussing consent. But, most importantly, it must be discussed with everyone! Continue reading

Review – How to Talk to Kids About Consent


By MF Miller

There are so many things to rave about in “How To Talk To Kids About Consent,” the mini-webinar by sex educator, Nadine Thornhill.

It offers a great introduction to approaching the issue of consent with children of varying ages while also highlighting some of the barriers around sex in our society. She identifies various stereotypes and obstacles currently hindering the idea of consent and gives great examples of how to approach these with children and teens.

Thornhill is a fresh, fun and approachable speaker. She makes the subject matter easily relatable and never talks down to the viewer. It feels very comfortable from the very beginning and her presentation style is clear and easy to follow. Continue reading