Here’s what to look for and what to do if you think someone’s being sexually or verbally harassed

Good Night Out coordinator Stacey Forrester lists six indicators to counter bad behaviour

Stacey Forrester and her Good Night Out team offer bystander intervention workshops to help recognize, mitigate and stamp out harassment on the bus, on the street, at the club and just about anywhere else.

Forrester’s group adheres to a six-pronged approach that includes the following tips:

1 - Know what you’re looking for

Brush up on your ability to read body language, pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you.

2 - Be direct

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In situations when it’s safe and you have the confidence to do so, say some something to the perpetrator. Name the behaviour that you’re witnessing and say what needs to happen next to stop it.

“It is bold and confidence is required for that one, along with assurance that you’re safe,” Forrester said. “This is one we love for bar owners to take, so they recognize it’s their job to make everyone feels safe there on that night.”

3 - Delegate

If you don’t have the skill or confidence to intervene, find someone else who can help. It could be a friend or someone who works at the bar you’re at. If you’re on transit, the transit police can be reached by texting 87-77-77 or calling 604-515-8300.

4 - Interrupt the power dynamic

At its core, harassment is all about power. If you see something amiss, try to disrupt that exchange. If you’re on transit, ask to change seats or get into a conversation with the perpetrator so the victim can exit the situation. If you’re on a crowded dance floor, bust out a ridiculous dance move so the attention is taken away from the harassment.  

5 - Check in

Even if you’re not equipped to stop a situation, talk to the person after it’s over. Give them a chance to decompress and figure out their next steps.

6 -  Dialogue

Whether in the moment, in passing or after the fact, make sure to emphasize that harassment isn’t normalized or acceptable in any way.


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