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Behav. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 65; doi:10.3390/bs7040065

Bystander Programs: Accommodating or Derailing Sexism?

Department of Campus Safety, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD 21157, USA
Department of Sociology, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD 21157, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 July 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 23 September 2017 / Published: 27 September 2017
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Bystander programs implemented to meet federal requirements to reduce sexual assaults on college campuses in the United States must include primary prevention. Survey data (n = 280) and interview data (n = 20) presented in this paper explore students’ hypothetical and actual willingness to intervene as bystanders. Although most students surveyed (57%) claim they would be very likely to intervene, fewer than half would be very suspicious of someone leading away an intoxicated individual at a party (45% of women and 28% of men: p < 0.01). Interview data reveal how students perceive risk factors at college parties and what types of bystander measures they attempt, including “distractions”, a nonconfrontational tactic in which bystanders avoid more direct but socially risky interventions. Subsumed in many current bystander programs is an invisible element of valorizing harmony. Condoning bystanders’ unwillingness to directly confront seemingly predatory individuals could make change seem out of reach and could also embolden offenders whose behavior is observed and only temporarily thwarted. View Full-Text
Keywords: bystander; sexual assault; college students; sexism; intoxication; prevention; gender roles bystander; sexual assault; college students; sexism; intoxication; prevention; gender roles
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Reid, A.; Dundes, L. Bystander Programs: Accommodating or Derailing Sexism? Behav. Sci. 2017, 7, 65.

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