What Would You Do? How to Intervene

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by Olivia Suter

Every October, advocates, survivors, and supporters recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), and this year’s campaign is #Every1KnowsSome1. This campaign highlights just how common intimate partner violence (IPV) is and how it is more than just physical violence. #Every1KnowsSome1, but how can we best support them? The Retreat’s Teen Leadership Council (TLC) brings together a group of students to prevent abuse and promote respect in all relationships. One of the many topics that TLC focuses on is Bystander Intervention. Bystander Intervention is an important tool for supporting survivors and is one of many skills you can learn to take action this October.

Over the past year, TLC has completed several training and development workshops focusing on bystander intervention, support, empathy, and prevention. Students focus on questions like “What Would You Do?” when discussing unhealthy relationship scenarios, and learn tools for supporting friends. Using scenarios, students go through the motions of supporting a friend in an abusive relationship through conversation and safety planning. Using tips they have learned to support a friend, TLC has also brainstormed healthier ways to start conversations with friends. Bystanders are aware of unhealthy behaviors and actively take a stand against abuse — learning the best and most effective ways to start conversations is an important step in bystander intervention.

TLC also emphasizes leadership as a key component of bystander intervention and raising awareness for intimate partner violence. Through activities, discussions, and group projects, students are encouraged to think critically about how they can show up as active bystanders in their community. TLC learns and practices The Retreat’s 5 D’s of Bystander Intervention in their workshops to prepare for taking a stand against abuse in their communities. At the end of The Retreat’s Fall 2020 Teen Leadership Council session, students came together to create a video on “How to Provide Support”. You can watch the video here. Teen Leaders advocate for change, support survivors, and intervene when they see something. This October, let’s learn from TLC about the importance of bystander intervention as a way to combat intimate partner violence.

The Retreat’s Teen Leadership program began more than a decade ago. Learn more about what the Teen Leadership Council is currently doing and visit our Education playlist on YouTube. We have videos created by students, featuring students, and highlighting some of our programming.

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