29 April 2013

(Spring) Bystander Intervention Workshop

This week we'll focusing on developing some tangible skills that we can use to disrupt rape supprtive culture, more widely known as "bystander intervention" or "BI".  Bystander intervention uses social psycology to examine what makes one more/less likely to intervene in a potentially hazardous situation. 

On Wednesday we'll talk about this dynamic specifically as it relates to gender violence prevention and our role as men.  There are complex dynamics in every situation and we'll have the time to workshop different scenarios to hear from you all what would work and what wouldn't. 

For those of you who got to see Jackson Katz last Tuesday, he talked about how he uses BI when he works with college athletes and the military.  He explained that it's relatively rare (but by no means non-existant) to be in a situation to stop a rape in progress so we should be focusing also on how we can be effective in intervening in scenarios that constitute rape support culture (which allow sexual violence to be perpetrated).  

He used a triangle to illustrate the ways that each incidence of sexual assault is upheld/supported/enabled by different aspects of rape supportive culture, which we encounter every single day.

So for example, nearly every day I witness (and participate in) sexism.  When I hear/see sexism and I don't say or do anything about it, my silence is basically saying that I condone what's happening.  How can we begin to question and challenge the everyday sexism that works to normalize gender violence?

One of the the goals of the workshop is to have you all leave with more confidence in your ability to act upon what you feel is the right thing to do, which as we all know, it easier said than done.

Check out this video from "What Would You Do" where they try to get bystanders involved in a potential sexual assault:


And there's always Jay Smooth's advice on how to start difficult conversations: