Don’t Stand By

Don’t Stand By

It takes a community effort to prevent gender violence.

When we think of violence against women, we typically think of victims and perpetrators. That may be accurate in a specific case, but to address the broader issue of gender violence—a phenomenon that crosses borders and cultures—we need to focus on the community at large.

SLAP: Empowering Women,Combating Gender Violence
SLAP conducts self-defense workshops for girls and women of all ages and professions. Photograph courtesy SLAP

Like people in India and around the world, Mriganka Dadwal was deeply shocked by the “Nirbhaya” gang rape case in New Delhi in 2012. But unlike others, she decided to launch a program to protect and empower Indian women through a new initiative—the Street Level Awareness Program or SLAP.

“We wanted to go beyond candle marches and Facebook activism and do something practical to change the face of our city scarred with rapes, assaults and public harassment of women,” says Dadwal. She is an alumna of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program and traveled to the United States in March 2014 for a program related to the theme, Combating Gender-Based Violence.

Since its founding in 2013, SLAP has conducted dozens of workshops in several cities—New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai—for people ranging from business professionals to college students and housewives. Dadwal is also planning to extend the program’s reach by establishing SLAP clubs in schools, colleges and smaller communities.

SLAP has three self-defense trainers and a counselor, along with a large number of volunteers. Initially, SLAP conducted open workshops with 100 or more participants, which helped raise public awareness, but was limited in benefiting the women themselves, says Dadwal. “So we opted for smaller groups of 25 to 30 participants, where everyone could get personalized attention.” SLAP seeks to empower women both physically and psychologically. Dadwal cites the example of women who have endured groping or lewd comments on public transport, but were afraid to protest.

In the workshops, she says, “We throw open these kind of situations and when they get support from other women, they walk out confident to take a stand the next time it happens. Even better things happen when men stand up impromptu and say they are sorry or ashamed that this happened in their city.”

Dadwal and the SLAP trainers take a very practical view of the effectiveness of their training by running through a checklist for every participant:

  • Do you have emergency contacts on your mobile speed dial?
  • Have you downloaded an emergency, lifesaving app on your phone?
  • Do you carry pepper spray?
  • Have you learned basic self-defense?
  • Do you have a plan if you find yourself in trouble?

“While we have been able to break the ‘these things happen to other women, not me’ mindset,” says Dadwal, “it is still difficult for many women to act on that realization.”


That’s the founding principle for an innovative program to combat gender violence at the University of New Hampshire that has drawn attention across the United States. It is called Bringing in the Bystander and features an associated social marketing campaign called Know Your Power.



The Bystander program was created by Prevention Innovations, a research, training and advocacy organization founded at the University of New Hampshire in 2006. Its co-director is Jane Stapleton, who first became involved in gender violence issues after a case of gang rape on the campus in 1987. The assailants received minor sentences, the victim dropped out of school and disappeared.

“It was such a different time,” Stapleton recalls. “We didn’t even have words like date rape or acquaintance rape. I changed my graduate studies to focus on gender equality and violence issues.”

Today, Stapleton’s work draws upon those experiences and upon years of extensive research in the causes and prevention of gender violence. 

“The field now has shifted from attempting to end the problem of assaults on campus by just talking with women about how to stay safe and asking men not to rape,” says Stapleton. “Bystander intervention is different. Women are not approached as potential victims nor men as potential perpetrators. Instead, we use a community approach to prevention, where everyone has a role to play in ending sexual violence and stalking.”

Prevention Innovations, which include university experts in sociology, psychology, social work, law and women’s studies, has developed a variety of programs for dealing with violence against women. Equally important, in this context, is that they have also rigorously evaluated the programs.

“What’s unique about our work is the research we conduct on the effectiveness of our program,” Stapleton says. “Everything is based on evidence-based research.”

Many of the best practices derived from that research have been formulated into a series of training modules sold to colleges and other organizations throughout the United States.

“The Bystander program uses a public health model—that violence can be identified and prevented,” says Stapleton. 

In workshops that can last 90 minutes or half a day, participants learn the concept of bystander intervention and how to make a decision to intervene in a case of sexual assault before, during and after an incident. The workshops, which consist of discussion, group exercises and role-playing, are designed to empower participants with the confidence to act when necessary, while remaining safe themselves, to aid victims. In this way, participants are trained to be part of a larger process of community change in which gender violence is unacceptable.


Know your power

The social marketing effort, Know Your Power, has created a series of images that capture difficult and tension-filled scenes designed to raise awareness of situations in which harassment, stalking, sexual violence or rape have occurred. The images, which number more than 20, come in every possible format—web photos, screen pop-ups, postcards, bookmarks, posters and even bus ads. 

In an age of branding, especially for young people, the campaign slogans—“Know Your Power. Step In, Speak Up. As A Bystander You Can Make A Difference.”—can also be placed on items like water bottles, buttons, gym bags and flashlights. 

In an online video, Stapleton says, “We work with communities to adapt and modify the campaign…So, it’s a collaboration from the very onset of the project. We really find out who the target is. What things are important to them? What do they look like? What is the language they use? What are the examples of a problem that resonates most with them?”

From Stapleton’s perspective, the evidence is clear that an approach like the Bystander program can raise awareness of the issue of gender violence among participants and increase their willingness to intervene in situations of actual or potential violence. 

The key is to understand that someone in such a situation is not alone, but part of a much larger, caring community determined to end violence against women, and the attitudes that allow it to exist.


Howard Cincotta is a freelance writer living in Virginia.


See comments
Dolan D's picture

Trivial as it may sound, crux of the matter is abject apathy that, unfortunately, becomes the guiding emotion in situations as these. Warped in our own world, as it were, distancing ourselves in situations or conditions that do not involve or affect us directly comes as easily to us as water off a duck’s back. Thus, community sensitization has to begin by inculcating a sense of responsibility. Unless a change comes over our collective mindset, piecemeal interventions cannot bring long term solutions. Starting off with gender sensitization lessons or life skills in schools can be a good starting point as it aids in impacting a generation’s mindset. Another thing of moot importance is cooperation from authorities and officials who matter, in such circumstances. Often it has been seen that fear of harassment from authorities prevents one from stepping out and lending a helping hand to a victim of violence. A hassle free process of official intervention can encourage many people to come out of the comfort zone and be more pro-active.
Divya Mittal's picture

An African proverb says: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Similarly “It takes a community to end violence against women.” Preventing gender violence and protecting survivors requires the involvement of the entire society because this issue requires collective contribution. A few isolated acts on part of state cannot change the ground realities until and unless the community itself is determined to bring about a change in their perspective and how they envisage such acts. An idea becomes a revolution when it gets the support of the community and its people. Showing Zero tolerance towards such acts,Raising Awareness, providing support to victims can contribute a lot in the long run.
Nidhi Shendurnikar's picture

Gender based violence as an issue affects all societies the world over. Primarily, it is not just a 'women's' problem since men can too be victims of gender based violence. A wonderful campaign initiated by The United Nations 'HeforShe' says it all. Gender based violence could be seen from the prism of structural violence since its roots lie deeper into cultural and religious forces that govern our life. To address such a deep-rooted problem, women cannot be the only stakeholders. Others and their participation is significant too. These can be identified as - men, civil society, media, state etc. An interface between family, religion and education, all three of which lie at the heart of a community can be evolved to address this issue in an innovative way. We need to strike gender based violence at its roots and eliminate it from where it begins to operate. This cannot be achieved without the help and involvement of the community since any examination of gender based violence only through the prism of an individual is flawed. Any change that can claim to be sustainable has to come from within. It has to be rooted so strongly that generations after generations imbibe it and practice it. If we leave out the community from under the purview of gender based violence and solutions related to it, then we are only talking of a solution restricted to the 'armchair'. We need to go beyond the armchair and undertake concrete action to address this pressing issue. The best way to actively involve the community in this is to develop linkages between religion, education and family in a constructive way in order to give an impetus to community practices that are not bogged down by dogma, ritualistic concerns or societal pressures. The community thus can be made the biggest stakeholder in dealing with this issue, without whose involvement I see little success for isolated efforts to effectively deal with gender based violence and do justice to those whose lives it has destroyed - both men and women.
Suman Kamath's picture

Gender based violence is a serious issue existing all over the world especially in societies where it has been ruled by male heirarchies. It gives easy access to inflict disriminations and injustice on women who have been subjugated by conditioned male dominance. But in some societies where females are the dominant gender [very few], the males have taken the burnt of discriminations. Hence its not just affecting the female gender but also men to some extent. In any case, we need to sensitise these issues in the name of humanity. Besides the family which is the single most influential institution in the early stage of a person's life, the society comes in next with a whole lot of community responsibility. We need to influence the family through information, counselling and guidance on a basic level. Alternatively, these should be done on a very big scale when it comes to community or society transformations. We need to get rid of certain preconditioned male importance when it comes to family's preoccupation with the male child as an heir to their lineage. Once this is erased, there is an equal treatment to both the genders. This family change eventually gets transformed and extends to the society in the long run. Whenever, we see a woman or a girl being harassed on the streets or being a victim of sexual crime in offices, its upto the women to fight it out and her friends or family should support her at every step. But lets not undermine the importance of bystanders or strangers who can play an equally important role in dealing with gender violence. Schools, Colleges, Media, Family,Society, NGOs, Spiritual discourses all help in overcoming this gender discrimination and violence enabling the community to coexist in a fair way. We need to love both the genders - each one is important to the other. Right ?
Vishala varghese's picture

It takes a team to get any work done and the same can be said about gender based violence. Gender based crimes have long been a part of our country, with the government, for the most part, either criticizing the victim or turning a deaf ear to their pleas. I agree that there needs to be a total change of mindset but most importantly, any relationship with a woman is reflected in one's relationship with one's mother. How can you change the mindset of a 55 year old man who has been brought up to disrespect women all his life? A mother is a child's first teacher. If a man has been brought up to respect his mother and if she has brought him up to respect other women, he will grow up to be a man who will stand up for women's rights. If change should take place, it should start at the earliest--when a person is at an age of influence. A collective effort should be made by the community to take up women's issues seriously. These issues are rarely, if ever, taken seriously in our country. The way women are depicted in this country also matters a lot. The depiction of women in Bollywood as sex objects and item girls sends a wrong message to all future perpretors about women. Most of them have no idea about women and what they are like and these misguided souls look to movies or any other outlet to give them an idea. When such movies are made which demean women or show them in a poor light, it only reflects on our mindset as a society and increases the chances of crimes taking place against women. The way women are portrayed in media is a very important factor. I quote actress Geena Davis here:-“Women are seriously under-represented across nearly all sectors of society around the globe, not just on-screen, but for the most part we’re simply not aware of the extent. And media images exert a powerful influence in creating and perpetuating our unconscious biases. However, media images can also have a very positive impact on our perceptions. In the time it takes to make a movie, we can change what the future looks like. There are woefully few women CEOs in the world, but there can be lots of them in films. How do we encourage a lot more girls to pursue science, technology and engineering careers? By casting droves of women in STEM, politics, law, and other professions today in movies.” Lately, women have taken to speaking out against the injustice meted out to them and that's a great change in the right direction and in the best interest of our country since when we speak out, we create more awareness about a topic that all of our politicians would like to ignore. We are having discussions about this on every platform and it shows that as a society, we wish to put an end to this social evil that has been plaguing our society for ages. Creating awareness about this social ill is a step in the right direction. Most importantly, being the change, more than campaigning for change , is what truly makes the difference! It's not enough to talk the talk but also to walk the talk!

To prevent gender violence we should first change our mindset that no one is inferior and no one is superior.Both male and female are equal.We have to stop dowry in any form.Old age people are the ones who need to understand that this world has changed.They should be counselled by educating them that female can do anything if they get opportunity.Girls should understand that they have to stand on their own foot,don't depend on brother or family,do what ever they want to do,take any course or degree without thinking what society will tell.Make them believe that no profession is specific for male, girls can be civil,mechanical Engineer,army head etc.It is the responsibility of parents that, right from very childhood both boy and girl are treated equally because that is the time when child develop their mind sets.
Ankush Dahiya's picture

Its all about the need to talk. The talk with parents, friends. So that we'll get the best result out in our hands.
ARISH HASAN's picture

Gender violence the most common word in today's world , but unfortunately misunderstood by many. It is taken by everybody that if we want to mark a full stop on gender violence we should let everybody do what ever they want whether good or bad . And this mind set is the major cause of gender violence, it doesn't maters us at all what others are doing, whether it is good or bad for society? will it harm any strata or section of society ? We just say it is democracy every body has right to do anything what ever they want who are we to assist. This is only the root cause of any type of problem. The society culture and feeling of oneness is getting degraded. We don't want to interact with society just want to see ourselves at good place, earn huge amount of money at any cost. Ethics and good manners are of no use in today's world. until a miss happening happen with us we don't consider that a miss-happening. So, if we want to change current scenario we must have to change this mind set we must arise the feeling of oneness we all must become bold and wise enough to differentiate between right and wrong and most importantly we must understand everybody has got some talent and we must use that talent in positive direction and we must not stop anyone whether a man or a woman from showing there talent we must give them equal opportunities and this doesn't means giving reserved seats 50-50%. From that i mean if woman are good doctors then there they must be allowed to make 60 women 40 men ratio or greater through there talent and if men are good engineers then there through there talent they must be allowed to make 60 men 40 women ratio or greater. Best said by M K Gandhi "Be the change that you want to see in the world". so lets take a step for a safer and brighter future.
Surendra Mishra's picture

Gender Violence is curse on Humanity although we can say its related to family issue or personal matter but the Roots are in the community because such orthodox illiterate un acceptable thoughts/ feelings are cultivated during a persons upbringing from his childhood to adulthood based on the inputs from community. Therefore community efforts is the starting and decisive point to eradicate gender violence.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Mayank Sharma at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi people should change the insecure mentality which taking India and Indians where they have started... if we the youth take initiative of change there will be no violation of gender will be seen in any community in the world. we should know that we are largest democracy in the world. if we make changes. The world will also take the initiative to get rid of the problem of gender violation.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Zain Hashmi at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: To prevent gender violence we should first change our mindset that is no one is inferior and no one is superior.Both male and female are equal.We have to stop dowry in any form.Old age people are the ones who need to understand that this world has changed.They should be counselled by educating them that female can do anything if they get opportunity.Girls should understand that they have to stand on their own foot,don't depend on brother or family,do what ever they want to do,take any course or degree without thinking what society will tell.Make them believe that no profession is specific for male, girls can be civil,mechanical Engineer,army head etc.It is the responsibility of parents that, right from very childhood both boy and girl are treated equally because that is the time when child develop their mind sets.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Lalit Pahalwan at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: EDUCATION......the only way to equality.... so EDUCATE & EQUATE....what u will seed inside a child ,it is surely gona play a vital role in the future.....so EDUCATE @ RIGHT AGE to EQUATE..
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Buffy Gary at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: Gender discrimination, leading to gender violence is not a biological difference. Its a stereotype still inside the minds of the common public. This is a patriarchal society that is leading to worsening in the condition of women. To prevent more violence and to improve their status, we need to increase awareness and education.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Aas Muhammad at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: Gender inequality pushes sociaty towards many worse things such as women suffer. They dont get freedom to live their life their own way. What we can do is to take initiatives to level the participation of every individual in the sociaty. Quality and strength must be given as their identity not their gender should be considered their identity.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Tarun Tejan at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: equality is the easiest way to remove gender violence..
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Mohammad Shamim Afzal at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: community can prevent domestic violence first. there should be check on activities of boys. girls should be given due respect at home and in public. Never forget a good community will make a good nation.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Viren Chahal at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: Educate people,eradicate poverty,Reform educational system,Society awareness..Things will change automatically
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Archit Mehra at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: What is gender violence. ... what gives rise to it...... where is gender violence most seen...... such questions should be answered to people to make them a aware citizen
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Praveen Gola at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: To prevent gender violence one must be- 1. Aware about the cause of that particular issue. a) If its all due to manliness , then try to aware the society about the woman power. b) If the cause is concern about some social evil i.e. dowry , giving birth to a female child etc then such evils can be stopped by taking the help of law and order. 2. A good teaching about the nature and habits of male and female can also reduce the gender violence up to some extent. 3. Some women too plays a dominating role and in that case men became a silent issue of gender violence. So in that case women should be counsel and teach that all men are not of the same nature. 4. Sometimes genetically practicism also plays an emerging role in gender violence . So in that case men should be aware about the changing thoughts in the modern life that women of today acts like a good friend of Him rather than a poor slave.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Rudr Pratap Singh at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: baccho ko bachpan se sikhye ki aap me or ddosro me koi farak nh hai....unke baach kabhi bhi ehsas na hone de ki aap ladke hai or vo ladki.. jitni freedom boys ko hai ,utni hi girls ko de, jisse unme kbhi bhi feel nh hoga !!! mere saath hua hai aisa isiliye bata rha hu..
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Maninder Singh at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: An issue for a great change
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Gaurav Pant at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: Gender violence can be prevented by educating the community ,strengthening social networks and emphasising public health prevention model.Framing gender violence as a social justice issue that is connected to other social problems, such as poverty, access to health care, and immigrants and women's rights will definitely strengthen advocacy efforts.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Nanda Gopal at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: The mainly gender violence is related to women only..this must be prevented in community
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Iqra Quraishi at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: Impartial counselling !
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Venkatesh Chittarvu at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: Women must be free enough to condemn and express.Unfortunately in India its either the extremes.The Feminists never seem to include Men and most times Women tend to be mute spectators and are asked to remain silent by thier own folk,Sadly.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Ranjana Bhatnagar at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: Interaction with each other through various activities organised by the community could be a good a good method of preventing gender violence. Activities could involve healthy competions in sports and arts. Book discussions. Get-togethers. Discussions and exchange of views on specific issues.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Umar Khan at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: Its all about the need to talk. The talk with parents, friends. So that we'll get the best result out in our hands.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Ankit Shail at https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: There must be a evolution process in the basic instict of human, and this process can only endeavour by human mind only as Human mind is the centre of all powers, thinking.this the fact that the human mind controlls the human body..but regarding this particular problem, we have to learn how to control our mind, to control this type of behaviour.
satinder bhatia's picture

Gender violence is a curse on modern day society. In order to rid the society of this curse, there definitely has to be a collective movement where there are no bystanders. Hence, an event against women should not identify bystanders. It is the everyday action that will decide whether there are any bystanders or not. Each individual and each organization has to decide in what best manner they can contribute to promoting gender equality; for promotion of gender equality will do more good than simply a focus on prevention of gender violence. Those who are good at creating awareness about gender equality through their writings should exploit this medium; others may do so through organizing debates or street plays or paintings, photography. Similarly, organizations must adopt women-friendly measures and train them for flexibility in roles and positions. Simple steps such as providing crèches in offices may do a lot of good but offices have to go beyond these measures and actually work for empowerment of women. Gender violence against women arises when women are seen to be weak. Hence, empowerment of women through education and training on mental toughness will see them perform even when severe challenges arise. Besides, women may perform different roles but those roles should be as meaty, as substantive as the ones men take up. Individuals and organizations that fail to do what they best can will definitely be termed as bystanders and greater criminals. For, as one quote put it 'Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph'. For society to take up gender equality as a collective movement, there has to be coordinated action with strategies and sub-goals laid down for every player. Thus, schools may have to revise their curriculum to focus in a bigger way on gender issues and organizations may even have to design new roles that benefit both women and the organizations. Thus, a focus on gender equality actually broadens the horizons of thinking new activities and new processes that enhance productivity. Greater gender equality helps women; but it helps men and the organizations much more.
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Sanjay Kumar on https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: A Lot of time is being wasted in discussing patriarchal mindset and many of them suggest increasing awareness and making people gender sensitive. But what I think is - nothing will work unless women fight for themselves. You cant fight for an another person who is not willing to fight. The oppressed person may be in disadvantaged position due to financial and other issues but at the end if they have urge to fight back then the help of others will work
Admin SPAN's picture

Posted by Saquib Ali on https://www.facebook.com/americancenternewdelhi: The sensitization has to start early in life right from home ,through school and onto university level.The community is essential in the picture as the family and society have the greatest role to play.The mother ,father and grandparents along with the society play an important role in shaping up the children who grow up to either stop gender violence or help it continue...
Admin SPAN's picture

Submitted by Rajat Mondal on https://www.facebook.com/Kolkata.usconsulate/: Violence against women and girls is rooted in gender-based discrimination and social norms and gender stereotypes that perpetuate such violence. Given the devastating effect violence has on women, efforts have mainly focused on responses and services for survivors. However, the best way to end violence against women and girls is to prevent it from happening in the first place by addressing its root and structural causes. Prevention should start early in life, by educating and working with young boys and girls promoting respectful relationships and gender equality. Working with youth is a “best bet” for faster, sustained progress on preventing and eradicating gender-based violence. While public policies and interventions often overlook this stage of life, it is a critical time when values and norms around gender equality are forged.
Admin SPAN's picture

Submitted by Raunak Maheswari on https://www.facebook.com/Kolkata.usconsulate/: just by using common sense and being rigteous!
Admin SPAN's picture

Submitted by Kisalay Mukherjee on https://www.facebook.com/Kolkata.usconsulate/: Spread of education and sense,specially ethics, by observing by own selves and demonstrating in an organised and concerted move not depending on as something optional but as must do.
Santosh Jaiswal's picture

When we talk about "Gender Violence" straight away what comes to our mind is "Violence Against Women" , Is it logical enough?? Because gender violence reflects the idea of maintaining structural gender inequalities, it can be from both the sides, but in most of the cases people arrested for violence against women are MEN but it won't be logical enough to say that all or even most men are violent or that women cannot perpetrate such violence because there are cases where wife has hired goons to take revenge from husband & in-laws, framing false dowry case, registering false teasing or harassment case. But since women are in minority, Comparatively less educated and physically less strong than their male counterpart, socially and culturally suppressed in societies, especially in India become easy victim of male dominance. From Parental Phase to Old Age Phase women in general passes through various type of violence which we might have never thought of, like, prenatal sex selection; female infanticide; differential access to Food, Medicare and education; Sexual, Physical & Emotional Abuse; prostitution; forced marriages & pregnancy; honor killing; acid attacks; harassment at work and public places; elder abuse and so on. These kind of violence are often fueled by Aggression, Feeling of Dominance, Revenge, Competition and Entitlement, Therefore, the need of the hour is not only to formulate Laws, Policies, Acts or to punish the perpetrator but to help the different community, societies and the system in cultivating Patience, Tolerance, Respect the dignity, honor & Humility for each other through proper parenting, quality education, counselling, awareness campaigns at different levels of the society. Above everything, we have to learn to respect each other irrespective of biological differences then only we can overcome this syndrome.
balasubramanian sankaralingam's picture

Effective bystander intervention is a tool for the community effort to prevent gender violence. The evidence-based research will serve the purpose. The public health model-that violence can be identified and prevented- will go a long way for our cause. The training of the participants to be a part of a larger process of community change in which gender violence is unacceptable, is to be appreciated. The social marketing effort, Know Your Power, has come in handy as far as gender violence prevention is concerned. It is noteworthy that women are not approached as potential victims. The community approach to prevention, where everyone has a role to play in ending sexual violence and stalking is an unique technique. It is laudable that some one in such a situation is not alone, but part of a much larger caring community determined to end violence against women, and the attitude that allow it to exist. Kudos to the organisation, Prevention Innovations, founded at the University of New Hampshire, for evolving the concept of Bringing in the Bystander. Yes, we must step in and speak up to make a difference. Let us accept /admit our social responsibility, in this connection. Web photos, screen pop-ups, post-cards, bookmarks, posters and bus ads. will gather mass support for our campaign. Let the community at large realise the role it has to play on the issue to put a full stop to the dreaded menace. Readers, wake up please.
janaki chockalingam's picture

'Don't Stand By' is an eye-opener for all of us. It is quite true that the whole community must rise to the occasion for a noble cause. Whether be friends or classmates, they have a moral responsibility to stop / prevent the incident to occur. There is no doubt that alcohol plays a major role in committing the crime and hence we must not let anyone to consume it. The Know Your Power social-marketing campaign will create more awareness on the subject. Let us not depend on Govt. alone to pass and implement stringent laws, to end the problem. It is praiseworthy that the workshops, which consist of discussion, group exercises and role-playing, are designed to empower participants with the confidence to act when necessary, while remaining safe themselves, to aid victims. The purpose will be served if the participants understand that they are part of a larger process of community change in which gender violence is unacceptable. It is to be agreed that the habit / culture of supporing a friend must be nurtured so that the support encourages victims of violence to seek help. It may be interpreted that a voluntary association of like-minded persons is the need of the hour. Indian medical student, late Nirbhaya, a victim, may be remembered in this connection. Taking a cue from your article, every individual / human being must come forward to join the movement or community effort to prevent gender violence. Instead of being just passive on-lookers, the volunteers / members must become active players to stop the culprit or to intervene when situations demand.; The promotional materials will surely assist the community effort. In other words, let us fine-tune ourselves to cope up with the requirements of the society. Hats off to Jane Stapleton for the rigorous evaluation of the programs. It is high time to act and change the mind-set of fellow citizens. My best wishes to everyone.
baljuda nongbri's picture

The call 'Don't Stand by' is the call of the day. I suggest that the message should go to the grass root level of all communities to contain this unrestrained evil of violence. The community groups could assure both the male and female victims of abuses by passing a consensus resolution to declare "WE STAND BY YOU "
Ramanathan Iyer's picture

I read this article. I find that "gender violence" is not defined in it for a clarity to understand it. I appreciate that "focusing on the community at large" is the founding principle of an innovative program ["Bringing in the Bystander"] to combat gender violence. It aims at "a community approach to prevention". The workshops are mentioned to be designed to empower participants with the confidence to act when necessary, while remaining safe themselves, to aid victims. It is stated that participants are trained to be part of a larger process of community change. More details could have been added in this article on the workshops and the training. It is hoped that the program will make everyone understand that someone in "such a situation is not alone" but part of a larger, concerning community: determined to end violence against women.
Shiwani Mittal's picture

Most of the developing countries including India are facing the problem of this heinous act –Sexual violence. Victim faces two major problem, First is Physical assault and the second and more dangerous problem is the Society’s response afterwards. Young girls are dropped out of the school by management or parents have to withdraw their Child. Sometimes even parents are made to leave the society or have to face the problem of isolation. Yes, To face this problem We , the society have to stand together and that is what I think this organization is doing by the movement “Don’t stand by”. As already told, Major problem faced by the victim is consequences afterwards, So why not make the society strong enough to resist these kind of activities. Most of the movements are concerned more about the counseling after the incident has happened. This movement will help prevent such incidences. We have to educate the society too by spreading awareness. A single stick can be broken easily, but a bunch of sticks is difficult to break. Similarly,Gender violence cannot be prevented by efforts of few isolated persons. It needs Whole society to become one, act like a bunch and then uproot this evil from our society. If the whole community unites, no one can dare to raise his eyes against any girl of our society.