Learning Bystander Intervention

Bystander intervention (BI) provides boys and men with the awareness, skills, and ability to constructively and safely intervene in situations where social norms that support sexual assault are being expressed or acted out. It is a tactic that meshes well with the social ecological model because bystander goals and outcomes can be developed and supported at the different levels. BI also connects well with our description of healthy masculinity. Latane and Darley (1968), first to identify the bystander effect, described cognitive and behavioral processes leading a bystander to intervene in an emergency:

  • STEP ONE: Notice that something is happening.

  • STEP TWO: Interpret the situation as an emergency.

  • STEP THREE: Assume a degree of responsibility.

  • STEP FOUR: Choose a form of assistance.

  • STEP FIVE: Act. 

MCSR helps boys and men explore and understand how healthy masculinity can help them to be better at intervening. Our description of healthy masculinity ends with the act of intervention: “Learning and using social and emotional skills to constructively challenge unhealthy masculine attitudes and behaviors expressed by others.”