Choosing to get involved and protect one another is essential in helping reduce violence. Toccoa Falls College encourages students and employees to look out for one another and get involved to help disrupt problematic behavior. Bystander intervention helps our community in identifying students who may have the potential to either hurt themselves or others. If a student, faculty or staff member is a witness to a comment or action that is made which could or has lead to a violent act, either against themselves or the campus community, a report should be made immediately to the Division of Student Affairs or a trusted source.
The bystander should contact the Vice President for Student Affairs within 24 hours and submit a report of what they witnessed and every attempt will be made to keep provided information in confidence. Getting involved and helping others is honorable and potential could save your friend or coworkers life.
To be an bystander/friend/coworker that wants to help another, consider engaging in one or more of the following ways:
- Be proactive and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
- Assist those with seeking help to address the situation that occurred.
- Remember details related to the scene (gender, clothing, location, number of people involved, comments made, names and description of others in the area, sound of voice tones, etc.).
- Take seriously and advance the information provided to you as it deals with a misconduct issue, specifically if it relates to an area of sexual misconduct such as dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking.
- Learn more about being an effective bystander.
REDUCING RISK AND WARNING SIGNS OF ABUSE
Reducing risk in romantic relationships or platonic friendships helps students and employees stay more safe and healthy. Listed below are a few options to reduce the risk that can compromise personal safety.
- Be wary of meeting unknown people with whom you have communicated with online in a physical location.
- Inform friends of where you are going.
- Awareness of how to express yourself in clear and understandable terms.
- Awareness of campus/community resources that can help.
- Avoid substances that can impair your judgment while also being in an unknown/unfamiliar location.
- Avoid locations that appear questionable or untrustworthy.
- Be aware of exit locations and opportunities to flee a situation.
- Visit with licensed counseling staff or others on campus or in the community to discuss challenges or concerns in relationships.
- Attend a personal safety course offered on campus or in the local community to learn basic self-defense tactics/strategies.
Warning signs can surface or evolve that can lead to non-healthy relationships. Listed below are examples of warning signs that may be characteristic of abuse (2015, Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness):
- Public criticism, humiliation from your partner in private or public.
- Nervousness around your partner.
- Being scared to disagree with your partner.
- Receiving pressure from partner for sexual activity.
- Lack of effective communication.
- Direct or indirect messages form your partner that indicate you are the one who should change to make things better.
- Violent or threatening behavior in public or private.
- Dismissal of demeaning comments with excuses of “being tired” or “joking.”