How to Help an Aggie

What is "bystander intervention"?

Every student, faculty and staff member can play a role in reducing sexual misconduct within and around the North Carolina A&T campus. Research shows that most students are not comfortable with, and do not approve of, language or conduct that diminishes, demeans or harms others. Most students believe that it is wrong to use alcohol or drugs as a way to increase the chance that sexual activity will occur between two people.

You should feel empowered to take action whenever you feel uncomfortable with another student’s conduct or when you see that another student may be subject to emotional or physical harm.

Students engaging in “bystander interventions” such as these are discouraged from putting themselves or others in harm’s way and are not being asked to be judgmental of their peers. Instead, bystander intervention involves noticing a potentially harmful situation and then saying or doing something safe and positive to defuse it.

This applies to sexual misconduct, as well. Taking action may be as simple as approaching a fellow student at a party (particularly if he or she might have had too much to drink, or is receiving potentially unwanted or inappropriate attention from another individual) and asking if he or she is alright or getting them to a safe place. It also might be as simple as taking a fellow student aside and letting him or her know that his or her conduct might be disrespecting the other individual and that it could result in negative consequences for both of them.

Bystanders have the power to stop abuse and to get help for people who have been victimized. Not only can you stop a friend or teammate from inappropriate actions but also say something to protest offensive or derogatory remarks, including sexist or racist jokes. Things you can do before or after an instance of violence will help STOP ABUSE at N.C. A&T.

How do you help an Aggie?

If someone you know shows signs that they are experiencing, or have been a victim of, harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking, there are ways you can help.

First of all, believe them! Don’t immediately question or dismiss their experience. Listen to your fellow Aggie. Keep questions to a minimum and ask how you can help. Assure them that it is not their fault that this has happened.

Tell them that help is available! Share the reporting page, and let them know that you are here to support them in whatever choices they make.

If you believe that someone you know may be experiencing sexual violence of some kind, use your voice to let them know you care about their well-being, and that you can help. Encourage this person to seek help. Getting help promptly can alleviate crisis and protect the health and well-being of your friend.

Below are a few examples of what your friend may be feeling. If someone is experiencing other feelings, they still may have experienced some form of sexual violence.

People who have experienced abuse may feel:

  • Shock, disbelief, numbness, withdrawal
  • Preoccupation with thoughts and feelings about the assault
  • Unwanted memories, flashbacks, and/or nightmares
  • Intense anger, fear, anxiety, depression
  • Physical symptoms: sleep disturbance, headaches, stomach aches
  • Inability to concentrate, lower grades
  • Loss of focus on academics
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Fears about safety
  • Feelings of guilt and shame