Bystander Intervention and Awareness
Everyone can be a bystander to a situation, but it takes more to be an active bystander. Have you ever seen something bad happen and wondered whether or not you should have taken action? Whether we know it or not, we are all bystanders to various events throughout our lifetime, and it is up to us to take a stand and intervene when appropriate.
Bystander intervention is the act of assisting someone in an emergency or non-emergency situation, which ranges from talking to a friend who appears to be depressed to helping someone who is being abused in some way. You never know when you may find yourself in need of assistance, so why not pay it forward and become an active bystander!
Why do people not help?
Some bystanders feel that they should not become involved in situations that they witness, either because:
- Societal norms dictate that they should not get involved
- They fear for themselves in a given situation, or risk being injured physically, emotionally, or socially
- They assume that others will intervene and take responsibility for the situation
- They wish to avoid the awkwardness associated with intervening in a dispute with people they might not know
What would you do in a given situation? Being a bystander is easy, but appropriate bystander intervention is the most beneficial course of action. Take charge in your community and speak up when something is wrong or potentially harmful. Statistics show that about 80% of people will help in a given situation if they are alone, but only 20% of people will help in a given situation when others are present. Why is this? Browse this section to dig a little deeper into this topic.