Bystander Training – What to do and Say

If you witness bullying – what should you do?

John Oliver did a segment on sexual harassment. In it – he interviews Anita Hill – the woman who testified against Judge Clarence Thomas. In the interview – she talks about what bystanders can  and should do. Her advice is wonderful.

Please note – this video is from a late night show – and is not for kids. He does an excellent job of explaining what sexual harassment is, what it is not and why it needs to be dealt with.

Her advice? If you witness sexual harassment – point it out – ask the victim if they are ok – and do they want you to report what happened?

This first part – point it out. It is enough to say – that’s not appropriate conversation in the workplace.  You don’t stay silent. Silence is consent. This needs to be said out loud. It acts as a delta – a signal to everyone that what happened – wasn’t ok.

Privately – you talk with the victim. Are they ok. How can you support them. Do they want you to report it. Often victims don’t want to report things because they are afraid of retaliation. Bystanders carry more weight when they report to – because – this isn’t about them – it’s about them witnessing something that wasn’t ok.

I was in a group last year where a bystander reported something on behalf of a victim and everyone was very glad that they did.

The point is – we don’t have to tolerate harassment. Bystanders can do something to stop it. Be fearless. Stand up and say – it’s wrong and help the victim.