Bystander Initiative | Workshops for Students
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Workshops for Students

Workshops for Students

 

The BI workshop encourages participants to see themselves as potential proactive bystanders who could intervene and stop sexual assault before it happens.

 

This year, we will offer 70+ sexual prevention workshops to over 1600 students. Starting in Fall 2018, all year 1 students who complete the workshop will be given a $50 gift card for the University Bookstore and a Certificate of Completion that students can add to their resumé.

 

Students who take the BI workshop learn the tools they need to:

  • Speak out against social norms that support sexual assault
  • Recognize situations that commonly lead to sexual assault
  • Take responsibility for helping the intended victim
  • Be an effective and supportive ally to survivors

 

The workshop we use is Bringing in the Bystander®, which was developed by researchers at the University of New Hampshire. We have created a 3-hour, Canadian version of BITB® that speaks directly to the experiences of UWindsor students.

 

We chose BITB® because it is effective for both men and women. BITB® approaches all students as well-meaning, ordinary people who have a responsibility and the strength of character to step in when needed, even when doing so means pushing against generally accepted social norms.

 

Workshops are led by two students who use techniques of peer education and positive role-modelling. Whenever possible, this is a mixed-gender team to demonstrate how men and women can work together to reduce the incidence of sexual assault on campus.

 

To encourage full and frank discussion of sensitive issues, workshops are:

  • Led by students who have completed the two BI courses
  • Limited to 20-25 participants
  • Offered separately to men and women. Trans and gender non-conforming students are invited to choose the workshop in which they would feel most comfortable.

 

Bystander workshops put into practice the insights of social psychologists whose research shows that emotional and social barriers, not indifference, explain why most people don’t offer help in emergency situations. BITB® helps students overcome these barriers.

 

Workshop participants also learn to notice situations that commonly lead to sexual assault; brainstorm ways to safely intervene to prevent a sexual assault before it happens, for example, by turning on the lights at a party or by telling the intended victim that you need to speak to her in the washroom “right now!”; and to offer appropriate support for those who experience sexual assault.