Empowering a Bystander or Witness to Crime
It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. We’re sitting in the office, playing on the swings, or walking our dogs and then it happens: a mugging, a purse snatching, animal mistreatment or bullying.
In a split second we are drawn in a trauma or drama that is not expected and we feel has very little meaning to us personally.
What Would You Do
Adrenalin kicks in immediately and our bodies are flooded with messages to fight or take flight. Do we get involved or do we stand by and watch or even leave the scene so we won’t have to see another human being or animal being abused?
Some of us are able to stop the problem immediately but others struggle with the decision… Old issues and experiences from childhood or the past will color how much power we feel that we have to intercede.
We may feel powerful or powerless.
When you witness a bullying situation or crime, you can call police and ask for assistance.
Those of us who are powerless or uninterested in helping become bystander bullies and add to the trauma of the victim.
There Are No Winners
The seemingly innocent witness to this social crime may seem as if they don’t have much to do with it. This is not always true.
Bystanders can, without meaning to, make the victim of bullying feel even worse. They may end up inflicting more pain with their silence than any physical punishment can.
In addition to this, individuals who witness bullying by either verbal or physical harm often feel so much guilt and pressure they end up with more mental and psychological problems than the actual victim. Stomach aches, headaches, and even ulcers have been attributed to the lack of action from these bystanders.
Do You Get Involved?
It is understandable that people could be afraid to stand up to bullies. We all fear the possibility of being shunned or mocked for good deeds.
We don’t always like what we see but the chance of it being inflicted upon us rather than someone else is often enough to stay our hands and voices.
Get Help or Give Help
That is why it’s so important for us to remind individuals who see bullying that you don’t have to be out on a limb in order to stand up to bullies. Anonymous calls, tips, and information are easy enough to get to adults or supervisors.
Being a bystander bully isn’t the only option out there. You can always lend a hand to someone that you see who is too weak to stand up for him or her self. The important thing is to remember that as long as you’re silent there is no one who is going to take a stand.
Questions About How You Feel After Reading This Article
1. Have you ever seen a bullying situation and were not sure what to do?
2. Have you become involved by calling authorities?
3. Have you ever had a bully turn on you when you tried to help the victim?
4. Have you ever assisted someone after they have gone through a trauma?
5. What were you feeling in each of these situations?
Please feel free to answer and comment on these questions. It is good to get a conversation going on how we can empower bystanders and witnesses to crime and bullying. As each one of us steps up to be counted, we can lessen the trauma and drama of those who need assistance.
You can do it. I have confidence in you.