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Become an active bystander

You can challenge rape culture by becoming an active bystander! Being an active bystander means challenging prejudice and discrimination when you see it, in a way that feels safe for you. There are lots of ways to do this.

Here, Debjani Roy from Hollaback explains more about what it means to be an active bystander.

Direct intervention

This means directly telling someone to stop what they are doing. This could involve challenging someone if they make a sexist or homophobic comment, or pointing out to a friend when they are slut shaming.


Is there someone who won’t leave your friend alone even though she’s made it clear she’s not interested? You can intervene by distraction: asking her to go to the toilet with you or introducing her to someone else


Say something to someone who has more power than you. For example, you could tell your teacher or youth worker if you know that someone in your class/group is sharing nude images of someone without their permission


This is where you check in with someone after what has happened. For example, if you notice someone in your class who is being bullied, this would mean asking if they are OK afterwards and offering them support.

One place that you might come across rape culture is online. This video talks you through different strategies you can use to challenge it.

There may also be times where you see someone and think they could be at risk of experiencing sexual violence. This video from New Zealand shows some of the ways that you can intervene if someone is at risk of sexual violence. It’s really important to only do this in a way that feels safe for you! This video comes with a trigger warning for sexual violence.

Take a moment and have a think. Have you ever seen a situation like this? What do you think you could safely do to enable you to be an active bystander?

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For more information, you can visit the Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis website.