Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pledge to be an Active Bystander

 This video demonstrates the Bystander Effect.



Bystander effect

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The bystander effect or Genovese syndrome is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other people are present. The probability of help has often appeared to be inversely related to the number of bystanders; in other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. The mere presence of other bystanders greatly decreases intervention. In general, this is believed to happen because as the number of bystanders increases, any given bystander is less likely to notice the situation, interpret the incident as a problem, and less likely to assume responsibility for taking action.[1] Read more here.


  • “It isn’t my problem.” - Violence is EVERYONE'S problem. We are all affected by abuse and violence in our communities.

  • “It isn’t going to change anything.” – Your action is going to help others see that they can take a stand against violence. It also shows the victim she or he is not alone.

  • “It may make things worse, or the abuser might turn on me.” - The point of being an active bystander is to help the situation calm down, not create more violence.

  • “Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing.” - Any kind of violence IS a big deal, even grabbing someone’s arm or yelling in their face; even calling someone names. If it seems wrong, it probably is.

  • “They might have started it or deserved it.” - No one chooses to be abused, and no one ever deserves to be abused.

  • “I’m not a ‘rat’.” - Being an active bystander does not mean you’re being a ‘rat’ or that you’re weak. It means you have zero tolerance for abuse and violence.

  • “No one else seems to care that this is happening.” - Many people want to see an end to abuse and violence, but are unsure of how or when to speak up.  

It takes one person to take stand up and out of the crowd to intervene and prevent abuse and violence.  Don't expect anyone else will have the strength to do it.  It must be you!

Research indicates that when presented with a need/call for help, people may be less likely to intervene with there are a lot of people around. They expect that someone else will handle the situation.

Is it your responsibility? Yes it is.

You may ask yourself a few questions:
Is it a problem or risky situation I should be aware of?
Is there an animal or someone that needs help?
Can I or others be part of the solution?

Other questions to ask yourself during the situation:
How can I keep myself safe?
What are my available options?
Are there others I may call upon for help?
What are the benefits/costs for taking action?
What is the cost of not acting? If you choose not to act in some way, how does that impact someone’s life?

Preventing abuse or an act of violence is a MORAL duty. A duty we should do because “it’s the right thing to do.” Sometimes it may help to think of others as a sister, brother or your family's companion animal – what would you do to protect your family?

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