Respect women: call it out–active bystander

Respect women: call it out–active bystander

There’s a big difference between eye contact and leering

'Sexual harassment’ is any form of unwelcome sexual behaviour that can be offensive, humiliating or intimidating. It can be obvious or indirect, physical or verbal, repeated or one-off. On public transport, sexual harassment may include:

  • staring or leering
  • deliberately brushing up against you or unwelcome touching
  • suggestive comments or jokes
  • insults or taunts of a sexual nature
  • intrusive questions or statements about your private life
  • behaviour that may also be considered to be an offence under criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications.

This campaign is designed to bring all Victorians into the conversation around sexual harassment on public transport by providing the tools to call out inappropriate behaviours. Safety in public spaces is everyone’s business and every commuter has the right to make it home safely.  

How to call out sexual harassment

As our campaign shows, even the smallest of acts can potentially stop sexual harassment from occurring. Learning to recognise the signs when someone is in danger and stepping in to help prevent the situation from escalating is important. This is called being an active bystander. Active bystanders learn how to recognise and safely intervene in potentially dangerous situations. 

Some simple steps to becoming an active bystander include:

  • noticing the situation (being aware of your surroundings – that means looking up from your phone and making a conscious decision to be present)
  • interpreting the problem (do I recognise someone needs help?)
  • feeling compelled to act (seeing yourself as being part of the solution to help – considering the difference that your actions could make by being an active bystander)
  • knowing what to do (consider what you would do and when you would do it)
  • intervening safely (taking action but being sure to keep yourself and those around you safe).

What to do if you are experiencing sexual harassment

If you are experiencing sexual harassment on public transport and you are in immediate danger call Triple Zero (000) or (where possible) press the button in the carriage to speak to the train or tram driver at the time the harassment is occurring. 

Your safety is priority, and you should only act in a way that does not endanger yourself or those around you further. 

Reporting sexual harassment

Only by reporting sexual harassment on public transport will we stop these inappropriate acts being committed in public places. If you have experienced sexual harassment, you can report information to Crime Stoppers on 1300 333 000 from 8.00am-11.00pm, 7 days a week.

No incident or detail is too small or trivial and it is important to remember that what you have experienced is not your fault. You will always be taken seriously and treated with respect. If you experience unwanted sexual behaviour, we encourage you to report it.

For further assistance 

If you have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment and feel you would like to speak to someone for support or information, 1800RESPECT (Phone: 1800 737 732) provides counselling 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information about the campaign, including current data relating to sexual harrasment in public places, download the call it out–active bystander campaign background information.

Get involved!

This year, Respect Victoria aims to get as many people from right across the state of Victoria to understand the most effective and safest ways to call out all forms of sexual harassment witnessed on public transport. By challenging the harmful norms, practices and structures that lead to violence – gender inequality, marginalisation and discrimination – together we can create a Victoria free from violence.

Supporter kit

We post ‘call it out’ campaign content to Facebook and Twitter and we encourage you to share our posts. If you’re posting on your own social media accounts, feel free to tag us:

Facebook – @RespectVictoria
Twitter – @Respect__Vic
Instagram – @respectvictoria

Use this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHxAxRYIlfE to share our TV commercial on your social media channels

To promote the active bystander campaign, we encourage you to download the Facebook and Twitter cover photos featured below and post to your social media account – feel free to use or take inspiration from the suggested posts below.

Suggested tweets

  • Body language tells its own story. Women shouldn't have to adjust theirs to avoid unwanted leering. Use yours to call out harassment.
  • Do the good deed you’re hoping someone else will. Public transport belongs to all of us. Call it out.
    The train might be delayed, but your good judgement doesn’t have to stall. Call it out.
  • There's a difference between eye contact and leering. Every commuter has the right to feel safe. Call it out.
  • Things will never change if we ignore sexual harassment. Call it out.

Suggested Facebook posts

  • Body language tells its own story. Women shouldn't have to adjust theirs to avoid unwanted leering. Use yours to call out harassment.
  • Do the good deed you’re hoping someone else will. Public transport belongs to all of us. Call it out.
  • The train might be delayed, but your good judgement doesn’t have to stall. Call it out.
  • There's a difference between eye contact and leering. Every commuter has the right to feel safe. Call it out.
  • Things will never change if we ignore sexual harassment. Call it out.
Facebook banner, call it out active bystander campaign.
Facebook banner, call it out active bystander campaign.
Twitter banner, call it out active bystander campaign.
Twitter banner, call it out active bystander campaign.