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Step Up! Don’t Stand By!

Rachel created this powerful image for our yearly t-shirt contest. Thank you, Rachel, for showing so directly the way words can injure!


Bystanders are kids and teens who witness bullying and cyberbullying in action, who do and say nothing. Very often they don’t know what to do. They’re afraid of retaliation or fear that their own group will exclude them for helping an outsider.  When you’re a bystander it’s important to know that by doing nothing you are sending a message to the bully that their behavior is acceptable.  

It isn’t!

And that’s not a message you want to send, nor is it a message you would want someone to send if you were a victim.  Yes, it is scary to directly confront a bully and sometimes it can mean taking a big risk. Whether you know the victim or not, there are things that you as a bystander can safely do to support the victim:

  • Don’t laugh or encourage the bully in any way
  • Stay at a safe distance and help the target get away
  • Don’t become an “audience” for the bully
  • Reach out in friendship
  • Support the victim in private
  • Include the victim in some of your activities
  • Tell an adult

There is strength in numbers.  Every school and every community has more caring kids than bullies.

These are just some of the ways that you can go from the “Bystander Effect” to instead being an EFFECTIVE BYSTANDER! STAND UP!  DON’T “STAND BY!”

Leave a comment


  1. Jean

     /  October 14, 2012

    To add to the list, I think role playing situations with others helps as well. This allows someone to work through a situation without the stress of the moment. So when confronted with a stressful moment, it is easier to act because you already know what to do/say. Kind of like learning CPR. Harder to do CPR if you’ve never learned it in the heat of the moment. Much easier if you have been trained on how to do CPR.

    • Good point! The way I put it in women’s self-defense classes is that things like that (like assertiveness, for instance) are like muscles–if you don’t get a chance to exercise them regularly, it is going to be harder to use them when you really need them!

  2. Linda

     /  October 15, 2012

    Great artwork and great message!

    • Thanks, Linda! I love the talented local kids and teens who submit artwork every year for our t-shirt contest! This piece of artwork is from one of those kids! Isn’t it amazing?


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