Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity

Bystander Behavior

Bystander behavior is extremely important to understand in the fraternity world.  It happens when a person hears or sees a problematic situation yet he DOES NOT take the necessary action to intervene.  The bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other people are present.  Studies have shown that the probability of help has in the past been thought to be inversely related to the number of bystanders; in other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. The mere presence of other bystanders greatly decreases intervention.  This happens as the number of bystanders increases, any given bystander is less likely to interpret the incident as a problem, and less likely to assume responsibility for taking action.

SigEp encourages members to educate themselves on bystander intervention.  We want our members to possess the knowledge, awareness, and skills to prevent toxic drinking deaths and promote a culture of kindness, responsibility, compassion and respect.

Feel confident to stand up for what you know is right especially when someone is in harm’s way.

When you are confronted with a situation, you may want to consider these strategies.  Never put yourself or anyone else at risk of harm. Know your own limits and comfort zone, and use your common sense.

Strategies in the moment

  • Name or acknowledge an offense
  • Point to the "elephant in the room"
  • Interrupt the behavior
  • Publicly support an aggrieved person
  • Use body language to show disapproval
  • Use humor (with care)
  • Encourage dialogue
  • Help calm strong feelings
  • Call for help

Strategies after the fact

  • Privately support an upset person
  • Talk privately with the inappropriate actor
  • Report the incident, with or without names

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