Cares, A.C., M.M. Moynihan, and V.L. Banyard. 2014. “Taking Stock of Bystander Programmes.”

Cares, Alison C., Mary M. Moynihan, and Victoria L. Banyard. 2014. “Taking Stock of Bystander Programmes: Changing Attitudes and Behaviors Towards Sexual Violence.” In Preventing Sexual Violence: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Overcoming a Rape Culture, edited by Nicola Henry and Anastasia Powell. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Pp. 170-188.

Instances and situations of sexual violence tend to involve three parties – “the presence of a vulnerable victim, a motivated perpetrator and often third parties (bystanders)” (170).

“Bystanders are witnesses we become aware of what is unfolding and who step in to do something about it, or who alternatively actively or passively facilitate the perpetrator’s behaviour, or do nothing about it” (170, see also Schwartz et al 2001) – have power to challenge attitudes and actions that (in)directly encourage perpetration through interrupting risky scenarios, connecting victims to community resources, and speaking out against sexual violence and related attitudes/behaviors.  1 in 4-5 women experience unwanted sexual advances during college (Fisher et al 2000); men are also at risk of sexual assault at college (Banyard, Ward et al 2007).  One-third of situations of sexual violence had additional people present beyond victim and perpetrator (Planty 2002). 1/3rd of female college students and 1/5th of male college students have had a friend tell them about an unwanted sexual experience (Banyard, Moynihan, Walsh et al 2010).

To encourage bystander action and intervention, people must: (according to Latane’ and Darley 1970)

  • Know what to look for, able to identity situations of sexual violence and acknowledge their problematic nature
    • Individuals with greater knowledge about sexual violence reported larger numbers of bystander actions (Banyard 2008; Banyard and Moynihan 2011).
    • The more a respondent thought the victim was responsible for an incident, the respondents was less sympathetic, the less willing to help, and the more likely to view a victim as credible (Sperry and Siegel 2013).
  • Be motivated to do something to change a situation
    • Identifying as an active bystander increases likelihood of participating in bystander interventions (Banyard 2008; Banyard and Moynihan 2011).
    • May source from knowledge about sexual assault (see above cites), but also a sense of responsibility through personal connection to victim or through beliefs regarding the end of sexual violence (Banyard 2011).
    • Perceived barriers of helping victims were related to self-reports of having fewer bystander responses available, particularly with strangers (Bennett et al 2013).
  • Feel as if they have the skills to safely and effectively intervene
    • People who are more confident in their ability to help are more likely to take bystander action(Banyard 2008).
    • Additionally, people are more likely to report threats and incidents of violence when they have strong degrees of trust in supporting institutions –that is, if they felt as if leaders and authorities could respond effectively (Sulkowski 2011- on campus sexual violence) – kx^ apply to festival production and staff teams?
    • Individuals who believe their friends would support them in intervention and reporting are more likely to believe that they would help in such instances (Brown et al 2014).
      • Men often think that other men and their peers are more supportive of coercive relationships and sexual interactions than their peers actually are (Fabiano et al 2003); similarly, male peer norms about coercion in relationships are tied to incidence rates of sexual violence on campuses (Schwartz and DeKeseredy 1997, 2000).
      • Bystanders, through (in)directly condoning problematic attitudes toward women, support for male privilege, coercion, help to create contexts where people can more easily assault and get away with them (Lisak and Miller 2002) –particularly attitudes that help support rape myths (Casey and Lindhorst 2009).
      • Attitudes about women and sexual assault are linked to risk of perpetration (Flood and Pease 2009), also impact how victims label themselves and the act that has happened to them.
    • Additionally, though people are impacted by the attitudes and actions of their peers, they are also influenced by the aggregate context – a community culture of beliefs associated with sexual violence.

“If individuals overestimate how supportive others are of sexual violence and underestimate how supportive others are of helping behaviours, a possible consequence is a social context that facilitates or implicitly supports the actions of perpetrators and suppresses helping or interventionist behaviors” (173).

In-person workshops – pro: work intensively, active learning environment; con – small groups, labor intensive, longer commitment from participants— a challenge to resource dedication, selecting and training educators, participants, and venues .

Online trainings – pro: resource-rich, interactive; con: understudied in impacts, easy to ignore

Interactive theatre – “No Zebras: No Excuses” @ Central Michigan University’s orientation – preliminary evaluation shows decrease of rape myth acceptance amongst acceptance (Stefanski 2005).

Social marketing campaigns – pro: low cost, easily acceptable, models “real-life scenarios” – Know Your Power program – helpful in increasing knowledge and fostering positive attitudes regarding active bystanding (Potter 2012, Potter and Stapleton 2012).

Success of campaigns are difficult to measure – catching participants before and afterwards to submit to questionnaires, interviews, etc – low response rates (Moynihan, Banyard et al forthcoming).

— mostly, our campaigns help to bring about short-term attitudinal change, but can’t be assessed regarding long-term change. Can’t be catch-all or one-size-fits all – instead, must be tailored to the intersectional and community-based needs and assumptions.

“The influence of peer norms (or perceptions of them) underscores that these prevention efforts cannot be implemented in isolation. Instead, they need to be part of a broader, community-wide campaign to address the individual-, group-, community, and societal-level causes of sexual violence” (182).


Banyard, V.L. 2008. “Measurement and Correlates of Pro-Social Bystander Behavior: The Case of Interpersonal Violence.” Violence and Victims 23(1):85-99.

Banyard, V.L. 2011. “Who Will Help Prevent Sexual Violence: Creating an Ecological Model of Bystander Intervention.” Psychology of Violence 13:216-229.

Banyard, V.L. and M.M.Moynihan. 2011. “Variation in Bystander Behavior Related to Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Prevention: Correlates in a Sample of College Students.” Psychology of Violence 1(4): 287-301.

Banyard, V.L., M.M. Moynihan, W.A. Walsh, E.S. Cohn, and S. Ward. 2010. “Friends of Survivors: The Community Impact of Unwanted Sexual Experiences.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 25:242-256.

Banyard, V.L., S. Ward, E.S. Cohn, C. Moorhead, and W.A. Walsh. 2007. “Unwanted Sexual Contact on Campus: A Comparison of Women’s and Men’s Experiences.” Violence and Victims 22(1):52-70.

Bennett, S., V.L. Banyard, and L. Garnhart. 3 October 2013. “To Act or Not to Act, That is the Question?: Barriers and Facilitators of Bystander Intervention.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Advance Online Publication.

Brown, A.L., V.L. Banyard, and M.M. Moynihan. 2014. “College Students as Helpful Bystanders against Sexual Violence: Gender, Race, and Year in College Moderate the Impact of Perceived Peer Norms.” Psychology of Women Published online before print.

Casey, E.A. and T.P. Lindhorst. 2009. “Toward a Multi-level, Ecological Approach to the Primary Prevention of Sexual Assault: Prevention in Peer and Community Contexts.” Trauma, Violence, and Abuse 10(2):91-114.

Fabiano, P.M., H.W. Perkins, A. Berkowitz, J. Linkenbach, and C. Stark. 2003. “Engaging Men as Social Justice Allies in Ending Violence Against Women: Evidence for a Social Norms Approach.” A Prevention Workshop for Establishing a Community of Responsibility. New Hampshire: Prevention Innovations, University of New Hampshire.

Fisher, B.S., F.T. Cullen, and M.G. Turner. 2000. The Sexual Victimization of College Women. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice and Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Flood, M. and B. Pease. 2009. “Factors Influencing Attitudes to Violence Against Women.” Trauma, Violence, & Abuse 10(2): 125-142.

Latane’, B. and J.M. Darley. 1970. The Unresponsive Bystander: Why Doesn’t He Help? New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

Lisak, D. and P.M. Miller. 2002. “Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending among Undetected Rapists.” Violence and Victims 17(1): 73-84.

Moynihan, M.M., V.L. Banyard, A.C. Cares, L.M. Williams, S.J. Potter, and J.G. Stapleton. Forthcoming, 2014. “Encouraging Responses in Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention: What Program Effects Remain One Year Later? Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Planty, M. 2002. “Third-Party Involvement in Violent Crime, 1993-1999.” US Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report (NCJ 189100), US Bureau of Justice.

Potter, S.J. 2012. “Using a Multi-media Social Marketing Campaign to Increase Active Bystanders on the College Campus.” Journal of American College Health 60(4): 282-295.

Potter, S.J. and J.G. Stapleton. 2012. “Translating Sexual Assault Prevention from a College Campus to a United States Military Installation: Piloting the Know Your Power Bystander Social Marketing Campaign.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 27(8): 1593-1621.

Schwartz, M.D. and W.S. DeKeseredy. 1997. Sexual Assault on the College Campus: The Role of Male Peer Support. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Schwartz, M.D. and W.S. DeKeseredy. 2000. “Aggregation Bias and Women Abuse: Variations by Male Peer Support, Region, Language, and School Type.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 15(6): 555-565.

Schwartz, M.D., W.S. DeKeseredy, D. Tait, S. Alvi. 2001. “Male Peer Support and a Feminist Routine Activities Theory: Understanding Sexual Assualt on the College Campus.” Justice Quarterly 18(3): 6223-649.

Sperry, K. and J.T. Siegel. 2013. “Victim Responsibility, Credibility, and Verdict in a Simulated Rape Case: Application of Weiner’s Attribution Model.” Legal and Criminological Psychology 18(1): 16-29.

Stefanski, S. 2005. “The Effect of No Zebras Bystander Education on Attitudes and Awareness.” Unpublished thesis, Central Michigan University.

Sulkowski, M.L. 2011. “An Investigation of Students’ Willingness to Report Violence in Campus Communities.” Psychology of Violence 1(1): 53-65.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: