The University of Iowa will begin providing what’s called “bystander-training” for the first time to all of its fraternity and sorority chapters during the 2014-2015 academic year. More than 3,000 U-I students participate in Greek life.
The director of the Women’s Resource and Action Center at the university, Linda Stewart Kroon, says a properly trained bystander can intervene to prevent a sexual assault before it happens. “We teach students to intervene at a level that does not put their own safety in jeopardy,” Kroon says.
Kroon says a bystander’s goal is to stop someone from being isolated and potentially harmed. “They might walk up and interrupt something that’s happening by asking one of the two parties to come away for a minute for another conversation. Or saying, ‘Hey let’s all go this thing together’,” Kroon says. All new U-I students, a number of student athletes and students who live in residence halls, already receive the training.