We've all seen it.
It may seem like they're flirting at first, but then you look closer and sense something sinister. Maybe the two people are under the influence of alcohol, and aren't in the right state of mind to make these kinds of decisions. You're ticked off by it one way or another, and you wonder if you should step in, maybe say something to the person in the couple whose sex you identify with.
For me, I wondered if I should pull the girl aside and ask her if she was okay. It was obvious she was drunk, and I had a bad feeling something was going to happen between her and this male stranger who had obviously taken a liking to her.
If you get this feeling, perhaps when you see one or two drunk people acting inappropriately, take that feeling as a sign and step in. You just might save someone from sexual assault.
When going out with friends, they're supposed to stick by you. But when distractions and alcohol get involved, friend groups get separated, and you may find yourself alone with someone you just met. Be a good friend, and watch out for your friends.
And even if you're not a friend, you're a bystander. You notice something suspicious going on between a drunk girl and a strange man. Girls, watch out for your fellow girls. We need to stand up for each other and protect each other. In a world where 1 in 4 college students experience attempted or completed sexual assault and/or rape during their college career, it's better to step in than to let it happen.
This doesn't mean all men are rapists. But when you see something that may look like it may become non-consensual at some point in the night, don't hesitate to step in and say something.
I grabbed the girl by the arm to get her attention, and leaned in close to her so we could hear each other talk over the loud music.
"Are you OK?" I asked.
And that's all it took.
Accept your responsibility as a bystander, and as a fellow human. As the saying goes: "if you see something, say something." It's better to check in on the two parties and make sure everything is alright than to ignore it, saying "it's not my problem," and then find out one of them was given a date rape drug or sexually assaulted later that night.
Of course, responsibility for rape falls on rapists. Need I remind you of the Brock Turner case? Obviously it was his fault that poor young woman was raped. But, do you remember the bikers who biked by and saw the rape occurring? They immediately stepped in, stopped the rape, and saved the girl.
This is an extreme example of the importance of bystander intervention. Most of you in your lives will not see a rape occurring. But, more often than you may think, you may be seeing an interaction that will later end in rape or sexual assault, especially if alcohol is involved.
You're not a "snitch" or a "cockblock" if you politely intrude and ask the girl if she is OK. Wouldn't you better be safe than sorry?
Watch out for your fellow girls, watch out for your friends, and watch out for yourself. It's a dangerous world out there, especially for young women. If we all take some responsibility and take a moment to step in, we can all prevent sexual assault.