Bystander intervention is a way to diffuse conflict and help people stop harmful behaviors.

Oklahoma City’s Human Rights Commission hosted a bystander intervention training with the Council on American Islamic Relations on Wednesday at the Ronald J. Norwick Downtown Library.

Veronica Laizure, deputy director of CAIR Oklahoma, spoke about the bystander effect and the importance of speaking out against harassment and discrimination.

CAIR Oklahoma is a nonprofit civil rights and advocacy group that works to enhance the understanding of Islam while promoting justice and empowerment for American Muslims.

Laizure spoke to roughly 20 attendees about different tactics to intervene in situations of harassment and bullying. She presented the “five D’s of Intervention” which include direct, distract, delegate, document and delay. These tactics are based on defusing situations to prioritize safety.

“This training is designed to foster that sense of community and investment in community, that does make us feel personally responsible to intervene in support of someone who is experiencing harm,” Laizure said.

Laizure said people are less inclined to respond to issues if no one else is intervening and if they feel like they may be intruding on an interpersonal relationship. Another reason people may not intervene, Laizure said, is because they feel awkward or embarrassed speaking up.

“It is important for us to recognize, what is the biggest consequence of bystander intervention? It might be embarrassing, right? It might be uncomfortable,” Laizure said, “But what are the long-term ramifications of a community where nobody intervenes, and we just let harmful behaviors continue?”

Laizure said she wanted audience members to come away from the training feeling better prepared to confront harassment confidently.

“The feeling I want you to leave with is one of empowerment,” Laizure said. “You don’t have to sit passively when harmful things are occurring, no matter who’s perpetuating them and no matter who’s the victim.”