According to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey (2009-2013), there is an average of over 293,000 rape and sexual assault victims, aged 12 or older, each year. Breaking down that statistic further equates to one American being sexually assaulted every 107 seconds.

Furthermore, according to the "Seasonal Patterns in Criminal Victimization Trends" (2014) from the same source, summer has the highest rates of rape and sexual assault while winter and fall have the lowest.


With summer fast approaching, the risk for becoming a victim of sexual assault can be concerning.

In order to help put an end to sexual assault, we need to be proactive and intervene to help prevent sexual assault from occurring. One successful prevention tactic is bystander intervention.

Bystander intervention is a call to action by encouraging people who may not be directly involved in a situation to take a stand. Such actions require noticing the situation; interpreting the event as requiring intervention; assuming responsibility; determining the safest way to help; and confidence in the capacity to help (Darley & Latane, 1968).

Alcohol is involved in many cases where an intended victim is too intoxicated to take care of themselves, leaving them in a vulnerable state. Bystanders can step in and provide assistance to someone who could potentially become a victim of sexual assault. Many of these situations can occur in public establishments where alcohol is served.

Public establishments can get involved by training employees to be diligent and watch for situations that have the potential to lead to a sexual assault.

In order to help support restaurants to promote a bystander intervention-friendly environment, Rape Crisis Intervention Service offers bar napkins stating "If you see something, say something — be an active bystander."

The napkins are available — free of charge — to all local food establishments serving alcohol. We are happy to deliver the napkins to all local food establishments who wish to answer the call to action.

In order to participate, call the RCIS office at 410-857-0900 and request bar napkins.

Do your part to be an active bystander. Get active. Get involved.

Janice Kispert is CEO of Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County. Email her at

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