What Can I Do To Help
BYU-Idaho is committed to promoting and maintaining a safe and respectful environment for the campus community. Sexual misconduct is against the law, contrary to the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Honor Code, and inconsistent with the life and teachings Jesus Christ, which we hope are embodied on our campus. The university prohibits sexual misconduct perpetrated by or against university students, university employees, participants in university programs, or visitors to its campus, whether the behavior occurs on or off campus.
This training explains the responsibility we all share to stop and prevent incidents of sexual misconduct from occurring at BYU-Idaho.
There are no “quick-fix” cures to solve the problem of sexual misconduct impacting our country, and the same is true at BYU-Idaho. Our efforts to stop, prevent, and remedy sexual misconduct at BYU-Idaho will take the collective efforts of us all, so we invite you to be an influence for good in this area—to be a voice of courage, change, and compassion, and to be anxiously engaged within your own corner of our campus.
We could spend hours upon hours training all within our community or hire countless professionals to focus on these issues, but at the end of the day, these efforts will not be as effective as your careful attention to the small, day-to-day choices that are before you. In the course of your life you may see, hear, or witness things that contribute to a culture that excuses sexual misconduct, demeans the role of women, or devalues the sanctity of marriage and sexual intimacy. What you choose to do or not do in such a situation might seem like a small thing or insignificant, but the costs of NOT doing something are too high to take that risk.
Speaking of the concern we owe to our fellowman, then President Dallin H. Oaks shared the following at BYU in 1973:1
You may have heard the term “bystander intervention”—an engaged bystander is one who intervenes in a positive way before, during, or after a situation or event in which they see or hear behaviors that promote sexual misconduct in any of its forms. The following are things for you to consider should you find yourself in a position to be an engaged bystander—
- Notice the Event: It’s easy to miss something you’re not looking for. People are busy, distracted, on their phones, talking, texting, or plugged in and tuned out in countless ways—all of which divert our attention from what is happening around us. Be aware of your surroundings and remain committed to intervene when you observe something concerning.
- Determine whether the Event is a Problem: It’s not always easy to tell if someone is in need of help, but trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to look into the situation further. Ask questions, see what others think, and err on the side of caution.
- Take Personal Responsibility: Don’t assume someone else will do something. Engage the assistance of other bystanders to help when appropriate, but don’t rationalize away the need for personal responsibility when you are part of a crowd. If a situation does not seem right, do something to deal with it, and seek assistance if needed.
- Know How to Help: Many times people want to help but they either don’t know what to do in a particular situation or how to do it. Intervention can be direct—asking the people involved to stop what they are doing, stepping in and separate the people involved in a non-combative manner, or using a distraction to focus peoples’ attention on someone or something else. If you are concerned that direct intervention could put you in harm’s way, intervention can also be indirect—you could notify BYU-Idaho Security and Safety, the Dean of Students office or 911 in an emergency.
- ACT! There are always costs involved—the costs could be something as basic as time if you are in a hurry, but costs could also be a fear of retaliation/confrontation; you don’t want to embarrass yourself, you don’t want to go against the group, you don’t want to get yourself in trouble, you are afraid the help you could offer will be ineffective, the situation appears dangerous, etc. But consider the costs of NOT intervening—it may be more costly to not intervene if you passed on the opportunity to possibly prevent an act of sexual misconduct.
Each of you are fellow sons or daughters of God and beloved of Him. Never allow yourself to say or do anything that demeans any child of God, and if you are in the presence of others that are saying or doing things demeaning towards God’s children, have the courage to speak up or intervene so that it doesn’t continue. Your commitment to be an engaged bystander may seem like a “small and simple thing”, but great things will be brought to pass in the lives of those you assist.2
If you have any questions or concerns, would like to learn more, or need help for you or a friend, please contact a Title IX Coordinator by calling 208-496-9200, visiting us in the Kimball Building, room 290, or going to our website at www.byui.edu/titleix.
2 See Alma 37:6-7