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Spike in Hate Crimes Creates Surge in Requests for Prevention Training

BARCC staffer presenting Bystander training next to big poster paper with writing on it

Training Can Help You Respond if You See Someone in Danger

Since the presidential election, it seems more people than ever are emboldened to discriminate and dehumanize others. This is a powerful root of sexual violence.

You've probably seen it yourself. A jogger being taunted on their daily run. A young woman being whistled at on the street. A fellow public transit passenger being bullied because they are "different." A colleague being put down in the staff lunchroom.

This spike in harassment and hate crimes has people looking to BARCC for help.

“Our participants were looking for ways to step in and be more involved. By bringing BARCC in, we learned what harassment looks like and how we can prevent and disrupt it,” said Elizabeth Hunter, Artistic Director at Theater@First Somerville.

For over a decade, BARCC has been delivering what we call Active Bystander Intervention workshops. Helping people recognize scenarios that might lead to sexual violence. And giving them the tools to safely intervene.

With hate crimes on the rise, trainers and participants alike understand the timeliness of these workshops.

“As a Muslim person, I am really happy to see so much authentic desire to be allies and stand up to violence. Because of a training in January, there are now 200 more people ready stand up for a stranger being harassed,” said Maha Mian, a volunteer BARCC trainer.

What’s learned isn’t just for preventing sexual violence. It’s also effective for defending anyone vulnerable to public attacks. People of color, Muslims, and transgender people have been particularly threatened in the current political climate. No matter the target of the harassment, the principles are the same. Whether you’re stepping in to prevent sexual violence or any incident of intimidation.

Before attending these trainings, participants weren't sure what to do in these situations. Afterwards, they felt ready to intervene.

“A woman was being verbally assaulted on a bus. I told the person to leave her alone. Then I stayed with her until the person got off the bus. It was so simple, but it's something I wouldn't have thought of doing before taking this training,” said Rob, training participant.

Because of the Active Bystander Intervention trainings, more people throughout Greater Boston are ready to step in if they see you, or someone else, being harassed.

Thanks to our staff, volunteers, and contributors, prevention really is possible.​

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Posted by Kim Sebastiao

Kim Sebastiao
Kim Sebastiao is BARCC's development manager. A BARCC staff member since 2012, Kim is responsible for conceptualizing, organizing, and executing a wide range of fundraising initiatives, with a focus on writing and corporate sponsorships. Kim has 14 years of experience in fundraising and event planning. She has managed large- and small-scale events and raised money for various nonprofit organizations, including the Women’s Center of Rhode Island, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. Kim is a graduate of Ithaca College.

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