The Be Project: Empowering Youth to be part of the solution to end relationship violence

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Be Courageous.

Take control by standing up for yourself and others. Show courage by believing in yourself, not in the hurtful words or actions of abusers.

Be an Upstander

Bystanders are people who witness abusive behaviors.  Whether it was someone being bullied or mistreated by a loved one, most people have witnessed some form of abuse. Being an upstander is all about being courageous enough to lend a hand to others in need. You can make the choice to help someone who is being bullied, cyber-bullied, or in an abusive dating relationship.


You don’t need to put yourself in physical danger to be courageous; there are plenty of ways to make a difference and stand up for someone who is being hurt:

  • Let the aggressor know that it is not okay to hurt people. Passively standing by sends the message that abusive behavior is okay.
  • Empathize with the victim. If you were being bullied, couldn’t you use an upstander to help you out?
  • Never be aggressive back. Meeting violence with violence only escalates the situation.
  • Distract the aggressor. Change the subject or point out a nearby teacher.
  • Ask someone for help. This could be a friend, an adult you trust, or another bystander. There is strength in numbers.
  • Hang out with the victim and ask how you can help. Just letting them know you’re there for them can mean a lot.
  • Assert yourself. Effective communication is a great, non-physical way to stand up for yourself and others.
  • Notice the signs of bullying and abuse: name-calling, tearing others down, physical aggression like shoving, and interfering with other’s personal space.
  • Don’t ignore the behavior—it will only get worse.