The Advocacy Center

Become an Empowered Bystander

The Advocacy Center promotes the Empowered Bystander approach to sexual and relationship violence prevention through the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Program. With this approach, rather than focusing on men as potential perpetrators of violence, or women as victims or potential targets of abuse, the focus is on men and women and transgender individuals as empowered bystanders who intervene in the face of abusive or harassing behavior, as well as provide support and assistance to their peers. 

Here at Syracuse University, interactive dialogue is at the heart of the Empowered Bystander approach to prevention education.  Through dialogue, we can work toward creating a culture that recognizes and supports the role of each individual community member in reducing sexual violence, harassment and abuse.

The main goal of the MVP program is to change behaviors and actually prevent violent incidents before they occur.  To accomplish this goal, the MVP Program has four primary aims:

  1. Raise awareness of behaviors that can be defined as verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse;
  2. Challenge mainstream messages about gender, sex, and violence;
  3. Create a safe environment for dialogue among men, women and transgender individuals,so that students may share their opinions and experiences; and
  4. Inspire leadership by empowering participants with concrete options to effect change in   their respective communities and in their own lives.


The following research article provides an excellent overview of the Empowered Bystander approach to violence prevention:

Being an Empowered Bystander

Download PDF of Becoming an Empowered Bystander