A Critique of the Bringing in the Bystander Program

A Critique of the Bringing in the Bystander Program

Bringing in the Bystander is a program that focuses on preventing sexual violence by aiming to increase bystander awareness of risky behaviors that would result to sexual victimization. On the same note, the program aims at increasing an individual’s empathy and awareness of the situations experienced by victims of sexual violence (National Institute of Justice, n.d.). The program was originally created for college students because learning institutions experience many sexual violence cases (Potter, Sharyn & Moynihan, 2011). Professional co-facilitators include both male and female personnel who administer the program, lead discussions and deliver the intervention. According to the program, the society has a critical role to play in ending sexual violence (National Institute of Justice, n.d.). It aims to expand the awareness campaigns to a larger community by providing them with individuals who have skills and knowledge to intervene and speak out against social norms that support sexual and intimate partner violence

Adapting the program for other audiences is possible. Sexual and intimate partner violence is a serious matter that should not be taken for granted. The society consists of people from different backgrounds, and it would benefit everyone when certain measures are employed to eradicate issues of sexual violence. Some of the audiences that the program could be adapted for include workers, parents, community groups and the public in general. Workers in organizations experience many incidences of sexual harassments. Bringing in the Bystander program would be significant to employees in their workstations. It will provide them with a sense of responsibility that entails preventing sexual and intimate partner violence.

With parents, domestic violence is always a problem in many households. One of the partners would want to gain power and control of the family and in such situations; the behavior would humiliate, coerce or injure another intimate partner (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice, n.d.). Therefore, adapting the program is a boost to the family because it will foster love and parents involvement in the family issues. Lastly, expanding the program to the community groups and the public is a great move because many incidences of sexual assault occur in the public. Similarly, some communities have social norms that support sexual and intimate partner violence, and it would be important if the program focusses on fighting such behaviors. According to a report from Amnesty International, women experience violence, and it is one of the most widespread human rights abuses (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice, n.d.). Sexual abuse against women takes place within the family, at the hand of strangers and it has affected women in every country.

The following are the adaptations that the program should consider when administering it to other audiences. First, when administering the program, the facilitator should consider the recruitment and training of mentors that will play the role of a prosocial bystander to intervene before or during incidences of sexual violence. The involvement of peer education and support is significant because members of the community are involved in promoting change (Powell, 2011). For the case of workers in an organization, they are trained to become peer counselors and they will use their skills and knowledge to handle peers’ interpersonal issues. Second, the program should consider using a mix of single sex and mixed sex program delivery. The approach is effective because mixed sex groups result in changing the attitudinal behavior for women and men’s behavioral intentions (Powell, 2011). Moreover, it makes an individual to understand that approaching people as potential helpers, removes the notion that men are perpetrators while women are victims. Lastly, the program should consider the availability and accessibility of the information concerning sexual and intimate partner violence. The educative materials with referral details should be available to the audience. The program can use the mass media to disseminate the information.



National Institute of Justice (n.d.). Bringing in the Bystander. Retrieved June 27, 2016, from https://www.crimesolutions.gov/ProgramDetails.aspx?ID=159

Potter, Sharyn J, & Moynihan, M. M. (2011). Bringing in the bystander in-person prevention program to a U.S. military installation: Results from a pilot study. Military Medicine, 176(8), 870-5.

Powell, A. (2011). Review of bystander approaches in support of preventing violence against women. Melbourne: Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth).

U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice. (n.d.). Domestic violence. Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/domviolence.htm




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