Time for a Culture Shift

From walking on Franklin to hanging out with friends we all observe things that seem odd or off. The question is: What do we do about it? Do we keep going on with our own lives? Or do we stop and ACT?

Only 22.6% of UNC students said that they intervened as a bystander after witnessing an intoxicated person at risk of experiencing a sexual assault. Furthermore, of the students who participate in this Campus Climate survey, 77.4% of UNC students who did witness this situation did nothing to intervene.

In a society where we are told to keep to ourselves and mind our own business, it can be challenging to speak up and ACT.

But, ACTing and being an active bystander can save someone’s life.one act

Bystanders play a crucial role in the prevention of sexual and relationship violence in our Carolina community, and getting our culture to shift towards that belief is imperative. A bystander witnesses violence or conditions that perpetrate violence. Bystanders are not directly involved however they have the opportunity to intervene.

The One Act bystander intervention program offers a 3-step approach that can help us ACT in situations that we know are not right.


Asking for help.

  • Your safety is always the number one priority. If you notice something fishy, odds are others around you do too. Ask for help, and remember – your safety is the number on priority—strength in numbers.

Create a distraction.

  • If you see that someone is obviously very uncomfortable you might approach them and say “I think your car alarm is going off?” or “I just lost my phone, could you help me find it?” Both of these examples are ways to create a distraction and provide an opportunity for someone to leave.

Talking directly.

  • Talk to the two parties. Check in with the potential victim. Ask if the potential victim needs to be walked home. If the potential victim is a friend let them know they are too drunk to go home with someone because of the risk of sexual assault.
  • Be direct. “Are you okay?”, “How do you know each other?”
  • Remember to also check up with your friend after they’ve been able to process what happened. Ask them if there’s anything you can do and if they’re okay. J

To help continue building a safe UNC community, sign up for One Act training. One Act will give you “knowledge, skills, and confidence to recognize the early warning sings of violence and take preventative action in your everyday life”.

Watch out, confront, and believe. By taking these steps we can create a safer campus and community with less violence.

Safe at UNC logo.


Video produced by UNC students of UNC students called the “Bystander Experiment” through Interactive Theatre Carolina and One Act.









This post was written by Rachael Hamm, One Act Social Media Intern.

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