Upstander (Helpful Bystander/Ally): A person who acts to help reduce the risk of or stop an act of sexual violence in person or online. An Upstander’s action can be on behalf of the potential victim.

An Upstander can help directly or indirectly, meaning anonymously or “behind the scenes.” (e.g., gives a drunk person a ride home, stands up against an offensive joke).


Bystanders can help prevent sexual violence from happening.
While most people do not commit sexual violence, many people are bystanders to boundary violations, offensive sexual talk or behavior. This may include, witnessing forms of harassment or sexual aggression toward others, or hearing others make degrading jokes or brag about tricking or forcing someone into sexual activity. By standing up to this behavior and intervening to stop it, Upstanders can spread the message of [respect] and prevent opportunities for sexual violence to take place.

With keiki: Pay attention. Listen and watch carefully.
Many children have a hard time speaking up about safety concerns or uncomfortable situations.  Watch out for signs of discomfort or changes in behavior: fear of a certain person or place; excessive touching, hugging, tickling, or kissing; anxiety, clinging, aggressiveness, withdrawal or depression; and/or unexpected gifts. Be an Upstander, and support keiki when they say “no” or “stop” to unwanted touches.

There are different ways to encourage respect when people act disrespectfully.
What can you do if you hear something that might be offensive or hurtful?

  • Say something. Ask questions, convey disapproval, or engage the person in a thoughtful dialogue. Making the person reflect on their own insensitive remarks can help the person to see just what was wrong with the statements or actions in the first place.
  • Be creative. You can stop aggressive or harassing behavior and prevent violence before it escalates. It can be as simple as interrupting and distracting the conversation: "Do you have the time?", "Did you see that?", "I need to tell you something.", "I've been looking for you!"
  • Stay silent. Oftentimes, people are just looking for attention, for laughs, or for a rise out of people. Sometimes silence can make the loudest statement.
  • Do the right thing. Hold the people around you accountable to [respect]. Encourage others to join the movement and live respectfully.
Christopher Yanuaria
Respondent Support, PAU Violence
I looked around saying to myself, Why is no intervening? Then I realized, I’m the bystander guy! I’ve facilitated dozens of trainings for students and communities on how to intervene in these types of situations. It dawned on me that I needed to do something.
Eric Johnson
Artistic Director, Honolulu Theatre for Youth
For over 13 years, Honolulu Theatre for Youth has been collaborating with SATC to create theatrical vehicles to help students build an empathetic understanding of their roles in preventing sexual violence. This is some of the most challenging and important work HTY has done in our 64 years as an organization.
Jeff Horstman
Counselor, Mililani Middle School
At such a pivotal time in their development, learning about healthy relationships and truly understanding the magnitude of what it means to expect and show respect is a vital and valuable lesson for students as they prepare for high school.
Marite McKee
Hawai‘i Pacific University
Hawai‘i Pacific University is committed to providing a safe, respectful and healthy learning environment, with a particular focus on the urban, downtown community. Everyone at HPU plays an important role in fostering a safe campus by encouraging honest conversations about topics such as alcohol, consent, healthy relationships, safety, and sex.
Carina Morgan
Health Teacher, Mililani High
As a Health teacher for 10 years at Mililani High, I have learned that development of curriculum, access to resources, and community collaboration are key elements in promoting a positive engaging learning experience as well as providing at risk students with the support structures they need to live healthy lives.