Beyond the Classroom, University of Maryland
Spring 2017 Series on "People Power: Activism for Social Change"
presents a Special Seminar on"
"Putting Nonviolence Principles in Practice: Active Bystander Intervention Training" led by Pamela Fields and Rosalind Grigsby
Active Bystander Intervention is based on the fundamental principles of non-violence and de-escalation to address issues of public incidents of harassment and hate crimes. Bystander intervention seeks to develop solutions that bring an incident to a close peacefully and quickly, rather than escalating a situation. It does not teach how to deal with situations of immediate danger, when it is most important to leave the situation and encourage others to do so as well. Nor does bystander intervention focus on addressing the attacker.
Bystander intervention is a method of non-violent action, changing the focus in a neutral way, non-engagement with the attacker. The focus is to help the target.
The two main approaches are:
1) Do not, in any way, interact with the attacker. Ignore them and focus entirely on the person being attacked.
2) Respect the autonomy of the target. Make sure to respect the wishes of the person you are helping.
The training includes possible scenarios and role-playing to help each of us develop tools to use in uncomfortable or pressured situations so that we’re ready if a situation arises. It also addresses issues of judgment about when to intervene or not.
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