Dear Engaged Bystander:  The Merriam Webster definition of a bystander is: “one present, but not taking part in a situation or event: a chance spectator.” When I read this definition, it implies that we can watch an event and not be affected by it. Even the term, “bystander apathy” implies that people can watch and then choose not act because they don’t care. I believe that people care deeply stopping sexual violence and are deeply affected by what they see -- even if they choose not to act. 
 

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Dear Engaged Bystander:  Do you ever read a news story or editorial and find you keep thinking about it?  Well, on July 17th I read an editorial in the NY Times titled Tone Deaf in Rome.  Like the editorial, I was appalled by the news conference held at the Vatican which described the movement for the ordination of women as a “grave crime” that Rome deems as offensive as the scandal of priests who sexually assault children."   

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Dear Engaged Bystander: This is the last of 3 postings by Meg Stone.  Thank you Meg for the guest blog postings! 
 

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Dear Engaged Bystander. I know that being an engaged bystander is not easy. We address issues many people would rather ignore. We have to communicate with enough self-assuredness that we are not dismissed and simultaneously approach challenging conversations with warmth and flexibility so that people feel supported and motivated to change.
 

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Dear Engaged Bystander: I am thrilled to announce that Meg Stone has agreed to be our first guest blogger next week. For those of you who may not know her, Meg is the executive director of IMPACT self defense.

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Dear Engaged Bystander:  I recently read an article in the Washington Post, "Churches Grapple with Whether to Accept Convicted Sex Offenders." 
 
The article begins with the following: 
 
"All are welcome" is a common phrase on many a church sign and Web site. But what happens when a convicted sex offender is at the door?
 

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Dear Engaged Bystander:  I believe that our leaders need to model how to step in, they need to actively acknowledge the everyday heroes in our lives, and they have to call out the people who decide to do nothing. 
 
What would that look like? 
 

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Dear Engaged Bystander: You may have this experience too. When you do this work, friends and family call to talk about situations they face with their kids and often ask for advice. My brother who is a family practice doctor has the same experience… 
 

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 Dear Engaged Bystander:  When we talk about engaging bystanders in preventing sexual violence prevention, we nearly always talk about moments when boundaries have been violated, someone has been harrassed, or when the harm is done.  The element often forgotten is clearly stating and reinforcing healthy sexual development, healthy relationships and healthy boundaries. 
 
In the booklet I wrote for NSVRC, "Engaging Bystanders in Sexual Violence Prevention" I described a continuum of behaviors for bystander engagement.  The first box is: 
 

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