Sexual Assault/Violence

How to Be An Active Bystander

Bystanders play a critical role in the prevention of sexual and relationship violence. They are "individuals who observe violence or witness the conditions that perpetuate violence. They are not directly involved but have the choice to intervene, speak up, or do something about it." We want to promote a culture of community accountability where bystanders are actively engaged in the prevention of violence without causing further harm. We may not always know what to do even if we want to help. Below is a list of some ways to be an active bystander.

  1. Watch out for your friends and fellow students/employees. If you see someone who looks like they could be in trouble or need help, ask if they are okay.
  2. Confront people who seclude, hit on, and try to make out with, or have sex with people who are incapacitated.
  3. Speak up when someone discusses plans to take sexual advantage of another person.
  4. Believe someone who discloses sexual assault, abusive behavior, or experience with stalking.
  5. Refer people to on or off campus resources listed in this document for support in health, counseling, or with legal assistance.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, dial 911. This could be when a person is yelling at or being physically abusive towards another and it is not safe for you to interrupt.

Risk Reduction

With no intent to blame the victim and recognizing that only rapists are responsible for rape, the following are some strategies to reduce one’s risk of sexual assault or harassment (taken from Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network,

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation.
  • Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
  • Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.
  • Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn't the best place to be.
  • Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable.
  • Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have cab money.
  • Don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.
  • Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.
  • When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.).
  • Don't leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you have left your drink alone, just get a new one.
  • Don't accept drinks from people you don't know or trust. If you choose to accept a drink, go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself. At parties, don’t drink from the punch bowls or other large, common open containers.
  • Watch out for your friends, and vice versa. If a friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they have had, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place immediately.
  • If you suspect you or a friend have been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.). Be explicit with doctors so they can give you the correct tests (you will need a urine test and possibly others).
  • If you need to get out of an uncomfortable or scary situation, here are some things that you can try:
    • Remember that being in this situation is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong, it is the person who is making you uncomfortable that is to blame. 
    • Be true to yourself. Don't feel obligated to do anything you don't want to do. "I don't want to" is always a good enough reason. Do what feels right to you and what you are comfortable with. 
    • Have a code word with your friends or family so that if you don’t feel comfortable you can call them and communicate your discomfort without the person you are with knowing. Your friends or family can then come to get you or make up an excuse for you to leave. 
    • Lie. If you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Some excuses you could use are: needing to take care of a friend or family member, not feeling well, having somewhere else that you need to be, etc. 
  • Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors? Windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?
  • If you and/or the other person have been drinking, you can say that you would rather wait until you both have your full judgment before doing anything you may regret later.

On-Campus Resources

  • Counseling: ADM 1123, 636-922-8571
  • Mental Health: ADM 1123, 636-922-8571
  • Visa and Immigration Assistance: ADM 1113, 636-922-8566
  • Office of Disability Services: SC 133, 636-922-8247
  • Department of Public Safety: CS 103, 636-922-8545
  • Dean of Student Success: ADM 1123, 636-922-8238
  • Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs: SSB 2110, 636-922-8356

Off-Campus Resources

National Domestic Violence Hotline800-799-SAFE (7233)

National Sexual Assault Hotline800-656-HOPE (4673)

Safe Connections – Counseling and 24-hour Crisis Helpline provide resources and information to women and teens.
2165 Hampton Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63139
314-531-2003 (24-hour crisis line)
314-646-7500 (office).

ALIVE (Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments) – ALIVE's mission is to provide counseling, emergency sanctuary and other critical services to adults and children impacted by domestic abuse.
ALIVE (St. Louis County Office)
P.O. Box 11201
St. Louis, MO 63105
314-993-2777 (24-hour crisis line)
314-993-7080 (office)

Bridgeway Behavioral Health – The Sexual Assault Center helps victims become survivors. Bridgeway offers the only Sexual Assault Emergency Room Response Teams (SART) in St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren Counties.
1601 Old S. River Road
St. Charles, MO 63303
877-946-6854 (24-hour crisis line)
636-224-1202 (office)
877-462-1758 (Lincoln Country)

Crider Health Center636-332-6000

Volunteers in Medicine636-724-4848

YWCA St. Louis Area Sexual Assault Center – Provides support and advocacy to victims of sexual assault and abuse within the St. Louis metro area.
140 N. Brentwood Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63105
314-531-RAPE (7273) (24-hour crisis line)
314-726-6665 (office)

The Center for Trauma Recovery – Provides specialized services to trauma survivors.
University of Missouri-St. Louis

Crisis Nursery – Provides a safe haven for children facing child abuse or kids who have family in crisis.
314-768-3201 (24-hour helpline)

Youth in Need – Youth in Need is dedicated to building positive futures for the community’s most vulnerable children, teens and families.
1815 Boone's Lick Road
St. Charles, MO 63301
636-946-3771 (24-hour helpline)
636-946-5600 (central office)

Woman's Place – Woman's Place is a safe and welcoming drop-in center serving adult women in the entire Metro St. Louis area. Offer's crisis intervention, referral services, support groups and personal empowerment workshops.
4116 McClay Road
St. Charles, MO 63304

The Women's Safe House – Provides safe shelter and support services to battered women and their dependent children.
The Women's Safe House
P.O. Box 63010
St. Louis, Missouri 63163

Women's Shelters – Listings of shelters, transitional housing, residential treatment centers and women's residential services in Missouri.

Girls Health – Promotes healthy and positive behaviors in girls, giving them reliable and useful health information.

Homeland Security, Blue Campaign (Fight Against Human Trafficking)

  • To report suspected human trafficking: 866-347-2423
  • To get help from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 888-373-7888 or
  • Text HELP or INFO: BeFree (233733)

RAINN: Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network – RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.  RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. 
1-800-656-HOPE (4673) National Sexual Assault Hotline

AARDVARC: An Abuse, Rape & Domestic Violence Aid & Resource Collection – Provides resources and educational and reference material on sexual violence, rape, domestic violence, stalking, and victim assistance.

Crime Victim Advocacy Center – Provides resources, counseling, advocacy and referral for victims of crime and their families. 314-652-3623

St. Louis Domestic and Family Violence Council Resources for Domestic Violence Victims – General Domestic Violence Victim Assistance Hotlines/Websites.

Missouri Department of Public Safety – Resources available St. Charles County and St. Louis County.

Legal Advocates for Abused Women – LAAW is a local domestic violence program in the greater St. Louis area that provides crisis intervention & support, legal information and advocacy, safety planning, and legal and social service referrals for victims of abuse.

Legal Services of Missouri – Provides legal aid to low-income and elderly people in Missouri. 
314-534-4200 or 800-444-0514

Missouri Courts Forms – Forms from the Missouri Courts website that a person uses to request an order of protection against another adult.

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri – Provides high-quality legal assistance and equal access to justice to low-income people.

Crime Victims' Compensation Program – Assists victims of violent crime in paying for reasonable medical expenses, counseling expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages and loss of support.

Missouri Department of Social Services – Accepts confidential reports of suspected child abuse, neglect or exploitation.

Missouri Victim Automated Notification System – A fully automated, information notification system that immediately notifies registered users upon a change in an offender’s incarceration and court status.