Bystander intervention matters

  • Published
  • By Anonymous
  • 52nd Fighter Wing
Bystander intervention or stepping in during a potentially dangerous situation can make a huge difference in the lives of those involved. Below is the story of a Spangdahlem Airman who stepped in to stop a potential sexual assault.

A few weeks ago, I was out with a group of my friends at a local bar. We had been enjoying each others' company, and a few drinks, over the course of the night. As the night progressed, we started to branch out, making new friends and dancing with other people. At some point, my friend and I realized that our female friend who came with us to the bar was being aggressively pursued by another guy who we didn't recognize.

The situation set off a red flag for us because we are a pretty tight-knit group and usually stay up to date on each others' social lives. Realizing that she had reached the point where she probably needed to call it a night, I called Airman Against Drunk Driving to ask if they could take her home. Although AADD was not our original plan, we talk about it almost every Friday at our flight's weekly roll call and I knew they would get her and her car home safely.

While we were outside waiting on AADD, I noticed that the guy who had been pursuing my friend was creeping around trying to assess the situation. It was odd that he had followed us out of the bar, but I thought nothing of it.

AADD arrived shortly thereafter and a group of us walked her to the car. When we arrived at her car, the guy from the bar tried to get in the backseat with her.

Knowing firstly that my friend was pretty intoxicated, and secondly that the AADD driver probably didn't realize the entirety of the situation, I decided to act. I verbally confronted the guy and told him he needed to get out of the car immediately. He said he was "going to take her home." Not feeling comfortable with how the situation was progressing, my friend and I created a large enough verbal confrontation to draw some attention to us. The attention caused the guy to finally get out of the car.

Later the next day, my friend told me she appreciated me standing up for her while she was incapable of taking care of herself.

I hope my story helps people to realize that the red flags are there if you pay attention to them. It is important to maintain situational awareness and take care of our wingmen when we are out having fun.