Above all, try something. There's no single right or wrong way to step up.
As you practice being a proactive bystander (partier, peer, or human being) here are some tips to be effective and safe:
- Be prepared to notice high risk behaviors and situations at parties and gatherings. Unfortunately it's not a question of “if, it's a matter of “when”.
- If you notice something that's ambiguous, invesitgate it further. Ask others what they think.
- Expect social pressure to stay uninvolved and be prepared to stand your ground. Chose to be respected rather than liked.
- Don't assume someone else will do something.
- Keep your own safety a top priority. Don't be afraid to get help from others including authorities, e.g. RA, police, especially if it seems like violence or emergency might escalate.
- Decide whether to intervene directly or to delegate it to another. Does it need to be addressed immediately or is it better to wait until the next day? Is it better to address it in public or in private?
- State your intention and willingness to help. By verbalizing your intentions, you're more likely to follow through.
- Trust that you aren't alone – others will help once you step forward or if you talk to them before you take action. Enlist them to help.
- If someone is injured or ill call the paramedics – Don't wait to see if it will get better; don't risk their lives and well-being to avoid temporary awkwardness.