Stand by Me: Viewing Bystander Intervention Programming through an Intersectional Lens

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Bystander, Intersectionality, Violence Prevention, Universities, Sexual Violence, Gender-Based Violence, Post-Secondary


Post-secondary institutions are increasingly choosing or being compelled to come to terms with their institutional responsibilities with respect to sexual violence and rape culture. In several jurisdictions, including Manitoba, Ontario, and British Columbia, post-secondary institutions are now legally mandated to develop sexual violence policies, and outside of these jurisdictions other post-secondary institutions are choosing to develop sexual violence policies and programming. While the types of programs and policies implemented by different institutions have varied, bystander intervention programs have been adopted or are being considered in a number of places. Considering this growing reliance on bystander intervention programs at some post-secondary institutions, combined with the increasing diversity of the student body, it is important that bystander intervention programming take an intersectional approach.

This chapter will explore the ways in which bystander intervention programming can apply an intersectional approach to better address the needs and experiences of students at a variety of social locations. We highlight and discuss seven design and implementation aspects of bystander intervention programming that could benefit from an intersectional approach including: identifying patterns of victimization and perpetration; structural critiques; intervention strategies; audience; bystander bias; selection and training of facilitators; and empirical data relied on to validate bystander programming.


Formerly published as Suzie Dunn, Jane Bailey, & Yamikani Msosa, "Stand by Me: Viewing Bystander Intervention Programming through an Intersectional Lens" (2018) Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2021-18.