Bystander intervention is simply overcoming that “freeze” instinct when you witness harassment and getting back to the very human desire to take care of one another. It’s not about being the hero, strapping on spandex, and saving the day. And it certainly isn’t about sacrificing your own safety.
From the nonprofit organization Right to Be (formerly Hollaback!), I’ve Got Your Back teaches readers the ins and outs of bystander intervention using Right to Be’s methodology: the 5D’s of bystander intervention—distract, delegate, document, delay, and direct. Each chapter of the book dives deeply into what these D’s can look like in practice, whether you are in public, online, or at work.
The rise in interest in bystander intervention comes at a moment when trust in the institutions historically responsible for keeping us safe is crumbling. However, as trust in our systems falters, trust in our own agency and our own ability to create change is rising. Perhaps for the first time we see that our actions matter. Or, at a minimum, we know our actions are the only thing we can truly control. We all have a role to play when it comes to ending hate and harassment in our communities. If you’re new to these efforts, I’ve Got Your Back will give you the skills to get started. And if you’ve been doing this work for years, this book will provide you with the language to mentor others just beginning their journey.