Home > Publications > Girls Initiatives: Bystander Intervention Training


By: Kristi Stephens
YWCA NYC Communications Intern

In these racially charged and gender oppressed times, it is more imperative than ever to equip individuals with the skills needed to intervene in times of oppression, especially those who femme-identify. Prejudice groups continue to arise and attempt to halt the progress we try to make as a whole. YWCA of the City of New York’s, Girls Initiatives Program has been hosting several youth-led webinars on Bystander Intervention Training. These trainings touch upon topics and skills on how to eliminate racism, gender oppression, and sexual violence. Sessions also teach the causes of bias-motivated harassment and effective strategies for safely intervening in a public situation. These free trainings are open to those that are interested in learning ways to stop bigotry and hate in their communities.

The high school female participants who lead this program are specifically trained around bystander intervention and sexual violence prevention, in order to teach this information to the general public. While explaining key definitions and the history of bigotry, racism and discrimination, , these participants show real-life examples and scenarios to the audience that keep everyone engaged and educated. Interactive videos and chat room questions allow for attendees to participate in real time. One of the most important aspects is the focus on the 5 D’s of Bystander Intervention: Direct, Distract, Delegate, Delay, and Document. Anyone can learn how and why these are important skills to remember in times of intervention.

As noted in these sessions, racism has a systemic grasp on society that can only be overturned by standing against it and learning from it. Unfortunately, sexual violence is also too-often occurring and many of the times is inflicted upon us by people that we know. Learning how to step-in and stop rape culture in its tracks is imperative as well. These sensitive issues are touched upon by our Girls Initiatives Program participants in a way that is meaningful, respectful, and informative.

The next training session will take place on May 21st, June 8th, and June 11th from 4-5 PM. The May 21st and June 11th trainings will focus specifically on the basics of Bystander Intervention Training. This will include everyday examples of racial and gender discrimination and exploring effective strategies for safely intervening in situations that involve harassment and violence. The June 8th training will focus on Bystander Intervention and Sexual Violence Prevention. Effects of rape culture and manifestations of sexual violence, and equipping participants with key competencies and skills for supporting targeted people will be discussed. As always, this is a safe space that allows for discussion and breaks if needed. Register now in the upcoming events section of our website!