Bystander training equips you to become an active bystander, to skilfully and safely intervene in any potentially harmful situations that you witness on or off campus. Exe-change the Norm are running a new bystander training session specifically for PGRs, which will take place on Wednesday 7th June at Streatham Campus; below is a blog post from Joanna Reed, an MSc student in Marine Environmental Management, who has already undergone bystander training.

Ever felt like you wanted to help break down inequalities like gender, race and sexuality but didn’t quite know how? That was me too. I’ve learned that my white, middle-class background has given me inherent privileges, and fortunately so far I don’t feel I’ve been discriminated against because I’m a woman. So I always hoped I’d stand up for someone if I witnessed any racial, sexist or homophobic behaviour, but wasn’t quite sure how to do that safely and helpfully. So the University of Exeter offering Bystander Training seemed perfect!

The first two modules that I’ve done so far (there are 4 in total) go through some really shocking cases and numbers of incidents both in a UK-wide and Exeter Uni specific context, which really drove home for me the need to have absolutely everyone possible being active bystanders. It also clarified for me the importance of people speaking out, as if no one does, the minority who think racist/homophobic/sexist etc. things believe that they are part of the majority and are encouraged to go one step further, maybe to violence, and the majority begin to think everyone else thinks like that and that they are in the minority. Whereas the majority of people don’t think like that, but usually remain silent.

It’s also very different seeing events unfold in front of you, to knowing facts and figures on paper, so the training takes you through a few example scenarios. Overall I thought it was extremely well run, with space for questions and no judgement for lack of previous knowledge, just a space for learning together, with lots of practical examples as well as some principles. I would highly recommend this to everyone.

Exe-Change the Norm: Bystander Training will be running in-person on Wednesday 7th June, 10am-12pm in Old Library Training Room 4, Streatham Campus; you can book onto the session here.