Bystander Intervention

Help our girls and gender expansive youth get home safe - intervene if you see sexual harassment. Watch our video above to learn how to safely intervene.

Bystander intervention is a common tactic used to help prevent or interrupt harassment or violence. Bystander intervention is not about saving another person, but offering tangible support and solidarity through an act of allyship. This approach involves empowering and equipping riders with knowledge, skills, and tools needed to effectively and safely assist in the prevention of sexual violence. 

The bystander intervention approach is about centering the impacted person: their feelings, their experience, and their needs. It can include naming a situation before it happens, stepping in while a situation is happening, or offering support after a situation has occurred. 

There are four steps for safe bystander intervention if you witness sexual harassment.

Assess the situation.  Ask another bystander to support you. Approach the targeted person. Ignore the attacker. Offer options to

Step One: Assess the situation.
Does the harasser have a weapon?

  • If yes, call BART police at 510-464-7000 (There is a text option using 510-200-0992 but when a weapon is involved, calling is best).
  • If no, continue with the intervention. 

Step Two: Ask another bystander to support you.
You could say: “Hi my name is Haleema. I see what is happening and I think it is wrong.”

  • Can you help me intervene by taking a picture/video of the situation?
  • Can you help me intervene by contacting the BART operator using the intercom at the end of the car?
  • Can you help me intervene by noting the BART car number located above the end car doors?
  • Can you help me intervene by keeping an eye out to make sure things do not escalate?

Step Three: Approach the targeted person. Ignore the attacker.
Make sure the targeted person knows you are here to help. 

  • You can say something like: “My name is Stephanie, I am here to help you.”

Ask for permission.

  •  “Can I sit/stand next to you?”

Ignore the attacker and engage in a conversation with the targeted person

  • “The weather has been nice lately” “Did you see the warriors game?” “Have you seen the movie Just Mercy?”

Step Four: Offer options to the targeted person for how you can support them.
It helps to offer 2-3 options, because in traumatic situations, people may be in a panic and unsure of what to do.

  • Do you want me to walk you to your destination?
  • Do you want to get off at the next station and wait for the next train?
  • Do you want to move to another BART car?
  • Do you want to report this to BART police? If so, do you want me to be a witness in the report?
  • Do you want me to cal Bay Area Women Against Rape, who can connect you with a survior advocate, trained to respond to gender based violence? 
  • Is there anything I can do to support you?

Respect the person’s wishes if they say no and they are okay. Give space if that is what is asked. 

When intervening or responding to incidents consider if the police may put marginalized people at further risk before calling the police.