Stand By Me – 4 Steps To Being an Active Bystander

By: Gabriel Malseptic

The other day I wrote about the importance of obtaining consent and how it can lead to more satisfying relationships whether it’s a Friday night hookup or long-term relationship.

Sadly, not everyone out there is gaining consent…According to the DOJ, someone is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes. That’s right, since you started reading this article, someone has been sexually assaulted. If your jaw didn’t drop, you may want to see a doctor to get checked for TMJD.

Not only that–it’s estimated that 60% of those who are assaulted don’t report it to the police, meaning that offenders tend to face little to no jail time. Now before you take out your credit card and starting buying neat Batman accessories or Wonder Woman bangles, there is a much cheaper, albeit less dramatic way to help your friends, family members, and neighbors, from becoming statistics–become an Active Bystander.

What is an Active Bystander?

bystanderactivatedAn Active Bystander (yes, I capitalized Active Bystander, again, because they’re totally that important), recognizes when someone is exerting unwanted power over another and speaks up. A passive bystander (note: not capitalized) sees something and does nothing.

So How Do I Become an Active Bystander?

NoCapes_zps82c1bcc0There are Four Steps. For readers with a flair for dramatic heroism, you may be disappointed because being an Active Bystander is actually super simple and doesn’t even require a cape–frankly, they’re discouraged.

    1. Notice the Event: This may look like someone who:
      • has clearly had too much to drink
      • looks uncomfortable in a social interaction
      • is unconscious
      • is alone and appears isolated, or
      • is trying to avoid advances of another person
    2. Interpret it as an Emergency: Often people fail to realize one of the above scenarios as risky because they assume there’s an established relationship between the two people and/or because others are not acting on the incident.
    3. Take Responsibility: Don’t rely on other bystanders to confirm if a situation is sketchy. If you see something, take responsibility! Your “superpowers” include:
      • Checkin’ in with a friend. Make an excuse to pull a friend aside to ask if s/he is OK.
      • Distractin’ the harasser by simply asking the time or what song is playing. It’s a non-confrontational way to alert the harasser of your presence and attention.
      • Notifyin’ a bartender/host/bouncer that someone has had too much to drink.
      • Callin’ the police or campus security.
      • Explainin’–if it’s one of your friends who is doing the harassing, you can be more direct and tell them that what they’re doing isn’t cool and should stop.
    4. Act!: Remember, you’re trying to defuse a situation, not escalate it. Your friend, whether unknowingly taking advantage of someone who is unable to give consent or is at-risk of sexual assault, will be grateful and hopefully create fanfiction in your honor.

Have any stories to share when you were an Active Bystander? Any tips on other great superpowers? Let us know in “Leave a Reply” up top!

Heading to College? This 1 Tip Can Make Your Sex Life Way More Satisfying

By: Gabriel Malseptic and Onyema Nwanaji


There’s nothing quite as exciting as heading to college for the first time or returning for another semester–you’re bound to meet lots of new people, crash parties, and perhaps find someone who you’d like to get to know a bit better.

So, today, we’re going to cover one simple tip to have more satisfying relationships–from steamy Friday night hookups to committed partnerships.

If you’re looking for a roadmap to the G-spot–this is not the post for you–though you could probably find an article in every COSMO since the beginning of time.

No, today I want to talk about how to really turn up the heat on your sexlife. Consent. It isn’t just an idea for picketing on campus–it’s a great way to have a more satisfying lovelife.

So, what is consent? To understand it, we’ve gotta understand where it’s lacking. I used to think of sexual assault as the rare incident that occurred in dark alleyways and frat-house closets. But here’s how it really looks:


Data Source: White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault

Inexcusable! And perhaps the most disturbing thing of all?


Data Source: Department of Justice

But, how does consent make my relationships better?

Consent makes all relationships better by getting you and your partner on the same page. For example, imagine two types of roads–one is a simple stretch of asphalt–the other has lines marking speedbumps and lanes. The former may seem simpler, but none of the drivers are sure of how the others will behave, leading to a nerve-wracking drive. In contrast, the marked road tells drivers exactly what’s expected of them, enabling them to relax and enjoy the ride.

The same goes with consent, when partners communicate clearly about what they want in an intimate exchange and trust their partner, they can relax and enjoy the ride (whatever that may look like).

So how do you get consent?–It’s as simple as asking:

Can I kiss you…? Is this ok…? Are you comfortable with…? Do you want to have sex…? What would you like me to do…?

Getting consent is kind of hot, right? And just because you’ve had sex with someone before doesn’t imply they want to again–have this sexy consent-obtaining conversation everytime.



Do the right thing and you’ll find yourself in more truly satisfying situations!

Have any tips on great ways to ask for consent? Let us know in “Leave a Reply” up top!