Everyone can be a part of preventing violence by learning and teaching non-violent conflict resolution skills, promoting bully-free environments, and when observing unacceptable activities or behavior, being an active bystander.
Every day, we witness situations in which someone makes an inappropriate comment or
perpetrates harassment or violence. Sometimes, we say something or do something, but other
times, we choose simply to ignore the situation. How do we make those decisions? Is there a
safe way to increase the number of times and situations in which we might choose to act, and could that way also make sense for others?
Remember, there are many more opportunities to intervene beyond the individual act. Think
of the little comments, harassments, and other forms of abuse that lead up to what we think
of as the violent act, be it physical or sexual. Each situation is an opportunity to intervene by
reinforcing positive behaviors before a behavior moves further toward an act of violence.
The philosophy behind primary prevention is to prevent violence from ever happening. Primary
prevention is an approach to violence prevention that capitalizes on the power of peer and
cultural influence across the socioeconomic spectrum. Primary prevention targets all community members as potential bystanders, and seeks to
engage them, through awareness, education, and skills-practice, in proactive behaviors that
establish intolerance of violence as the norm, as well as reactive interventions in certain
Women's Services is dedicated to educating, engaging, and challenging everyone in the community
to be an active bystander. If each person decides to use voices, actions, and
choices to make communities safer, a cultural shift is possible – a cultural shift that
channels the power of peer influence and individual bystander choices to create lasting cultural
change and to rewrite the story and history of power-based, personal violence.