We have the power to prevent sexual violence. Northeastern’s Up2US program teaches Northeastern Community members to: Assess a situation (Does it warrant intervention?), choose a strategy (How do you actually intervene?), and take action.

If you are interested in signing up your class or student group up for a presentation, please fill out our form.

One of the most effective strategies used to prevent incidences of sexual violence involves mobilizing bystanders to intervene. Notice when something “feels off.” Intervene in the situation in a way that feels comfortable to you. How you decide to intervene might change depending on your personality or identity or how comfortable or safe you feel in the particular environment. If a situation feels dangerous, you may want to recruit help from a professional.

Here are some strategies:

Separate
  • “Hey something happened and I need to talk, come with me?”
  • “I’m tired. Let’s go home.”
  • “Let’s go get food.”
Distract
  • “Have you seen this video yet? You have to see it!”
  • Put on a song everyone will want to dance to.
  • “Don’t we have a class together?”
Recruit/ Report
  • Ask your friends to intervene with you.
  • Find the friends of the people involved and ask them to intervene.
  • Get a professional like a bartender, bouncer, RA, RD, or the police.
  • Make a report to the Office for University Equity and Compliance (Title IX), to the police, to a workplace etc.
Be Direct
  • “That person is much too drunk to hook up.”
  • “I’m taking my friend home now.”
  • “You need to back off.”
  • “Stop saying things like that.”
Speak up: Many perpetrators hold hostile attitudes about others, have beliefs about people “owing” sex, and see others as sexual commodities. By countering these types of attitudes and/ or comments that reflect them, you communicate that disrespect is not tolerated here.
  • Use “I” statements: I feel uncomfortable when you say things like that.
  • Reframe: “I know you’re a good person, but when you say stuff like that it makes you look bad.”

Intervention usually only takes a few minutes and can make a huge difference in someone’s life. To see intervention in action, check out this video made by Cornell University about how to intervene in a variety of different scenarios related to sexual assault, harassment, discrimination, mental health, hazing, alcohol poisoning, and domestic violence.