1.) Engage conversation [with the person experiencing harassment, not their attacker]. Go to them, sit beside them and say hello. Try to appear calm, collected and welcoming. IGNORE THE ATTACKER.
2.) Pick a random subject and start discussing it. It can be anything: a movie you liked, the weather, saying you like something they wear and asking where they got it…
3.) Keep building the safe space. Keep eye contact with them and don’t acknowledge the attacker’s presence: the absence of response from you two will push them to leave the area shortly.
4.) Continue the conversation until the attacker leaves and escort them to a safe place if necessary. Bring them to a neutral area where they can recollect themselves; respect their wishes if they tell you they’re ok and just want to go.
One of the tools they taught us was to distract. They mentioned shutting off your cell phone, then going up to the individual being targeted, interrupting and telling them you've lost your phone and ask if they can call it and help you look for it. I thought this one would be especially helpful to women, as typically one of the barriers to intervening is fear of being injured or targeted yourself. It comes off as non-threatening and can still help diffuse a heated situation.
"...check out our 4 D’s of bystander intervention – Direct, Distract, Delegate, and Delay – and put them into action the next time you witness harassment.
Direct Intervention: When you see someone being targeted, you can confront the harasser and let them know that what they are doing is wrong. This can be risky and is not always the safest method. The harassment may be redirected at you, so do not feel compelled to employ this method if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Distract: This is an indirect intervention. If you witness harassment, go up to the target and ask for the time or for directions, pretending you’re lost. There are many ways to create a distraction in a situation like this that will help de-escalate the potential for further harassment or violence.
Delegate: Depending where you are when you witness harassment, you can ask for a third party to help. It can be a transit employee, a teacher, a manager, or anyone else around.
Delay: If you see someone targeted with verbal harassment or non-verbal gestures such as leering/staring someone down, ask them afterward if they are okay. It’s powerful. People may notice these forms of harassment but may not feel like they are able to do anything in the moment. Asking the person being targeted if they are okay after the harassment occurs helps them feel less alone and can reduce trauma. In this climate, this is needed more than ever.
The movement to end harassment and discrimination in public space has unprecedented momentum right now, and we need the support of people like you to step up, get trained, and take bold, everyday actions to protect your neighbors and remind them there are people out there who have their back.
An older black man's comments on why not speaking out is being complicit:
http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/11/21/1602517/-US-Presi ... racist-guilt