Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER)

Active bystander strategies

MIT offers some useful advice on what to do if you witness offensive behaviour.

Strategies in the moment

  • Name or acknowledge an offence
  • Point to the ‘elephant in the room’
  • Interrupt the behaviour
  • Publicly support an aggrieved person
  • Use body language to show disapproval
  • Use humour (with care)
  • Encourage dialogue
  • Help calm strong feelings
  • Call for help

Strategies after the fact

  • Privately support an upset person
  • Talk privately with the person responsible for the inappropriate behaviour
  • Report the incident, with or without name