How can I help someone that has been assaulted?

Be an intervener! Help stop these incidents before they occur, talk to your friends about it so that they can be interveners as well!

Bystander Intervention

The Bystander Intervention Model predicts that people are more likely to help others under certain conditions.

1. Notices the Incident
Bystanders first must notice the incident taking place. If they don’t take note of the situation there is no way to help.

2. Interpret incident as emergency
Bystanders need to evaluate the situation and determine whether it is an emergency—or at least one in which someone needs assistance. If people do not interpret a situation as one in which someone needs assistance, then there is often no need to provide help.

3. Assume Responsibility
Another decision bystanders make is whether they should assume responsibility for giving help. One repeated finding in research studies on helping is that a bystander is less likely to help if there are other bystanders present. When other bystanders are present, responsibility for helping is diffused. If a lone bystander is present he or she is more likely to assume responsibility.

4. Attempts to Help
The best way bystanders can assist in creating an empowering climate free of interpersonal violence is to diffuse problem behaviors before they escalate.

  • Educate yourself about interpersonal violence AND share this info with friends
  • Confront friends who make excuses for other peoples abusive behavior
  • Speak up against racist, sexist, and homophobic jokes or remarks

Tips for Intervening

In a situation potentially involving sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking:

  • Approach everyone as a friend
  • Do not be antagonistic
  • Avoid using violence
  • Be honest and direct whenever possible
  • Recruit help if necessary
  • Keep yourself safe
  • If things get out of hand or become too serious, contact the police

Remember any situation that threatens physical harm to yourself or another student should be assessed carefully. Contact OSUIT Police at 918-293-5000 if assistance is needed.


STEP UP! is a prosocial behavior and bystander intervention program that educates students to be proactive in helping others. Teaching people about the determinants of prosocial behavior makes them more aware of why they sometimes don’t help. As a result they are more likely to help in the future.

The goals of STEP UP! are to:

  • Raise awareness of helping behaviors
  • Increase motivation to help
  • Develop skills and confidence when responding to problems or concerns
  • Ensure the safety and well-being of self and other


How to Offer Support to Victims

You may use this checklist in its entirety, or only use the parts that pertain to a student’s concerns at the moment.

1.____ According to Board of Regent’s policy, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) Campus Police Department should be contacted immediately if the incident happened on campus and Okmulgee Police Department should be contacted if the incident happened off campus (or the local Law Enforcement Agency where the assault took place).

2.____ Ask if the victim feels safe in their current campus residence. If not, the Office of Student Conduct (918-293-4928) will work with Residential Life to provide a new housing assignment.

3.____ In the case of sexual assault, provide the student with information for the 24-hour Okmulgee County Family Resources Crisis Intervention Line (918-756-2549) where a Rape Response Team can provide support during emergency room examinations.

4.____Encourage the student to seek follow-up health care immediately through The Muscogee Creek Nation Medical Center Emergency Room Services (formerly Okmulgee Memorial Hospital), or with a personal physician, for physical injuries, a general physical exam, and testing for STD, pregnancy and HIV.

5.____ Inform the student about counseling services through OSUIT Counseling Services (918-293-4988) where counselors are available to provide emotional support to any student who has been sexually assaulted or abused.

6.____ Offer information concerning the OSUIT student conduct process and the reporting options to file a complaint with the University alleging another student violated University policy.  Reports can be filed online.

7.____ Offer information to the student concerning accommodations to be made as needed for the student to feel safe and continue in school. The Office of Student Conduct (918-293-4928) can assist in making these accommodations.

8.____ Help the student generate a list of people in her/his life who may be able to provide non-judgmental, confidential support.

9.____ If appropriate, make a plan to follow-up with the student.

How to Support a Friend

If your friend is a victim of sexual violence the following information can offer guidance on how to help and support.

  • Be a good listener. Do not press for details. Allow your friend to reflect on what has happened and to share some of her/his feelings.
  • Keep what is said confidential.
  • Let your friend know that she/he is not to blame. Many victims tend to blame themselves for the offender’s actions, especially if the perpetrator was an acquaintance.
  • Encourage your friend to file a police report. Filing a report does not commit you to prosecute, but will allow the gathering of information and evidence. The information and evidence maintain future options regarding criminal prosecution, university disciplinary actions and/or civil actions against the perpetrator. Information can be helpful in supporting other reports and/or preventing further incidents (even anonymous reports are useful).
  • Encourage your friend to file a complaint with the University alleging another student violated University policy. Reports can be filed online. 
  • Encourage your friend to seek counseling. (The OSUIT Counseling Services can be reached at 918-293-4988).
  • Allow your friend to make their own decision about their next steps.
  • Seek emotional support for yourself if needed.
  • Accept their choice even if you disagree with what they have chosen to do. It is important that they feel empowered to make choices and take back control. Do not impose your values on the victim.
  • See On and Off Campus Resources for more information