This came as a big relief to me #BystanderIntervention. Do you know why? It made me realize that I have options. And this feeling set me free.
First things first. What is Bystander Intervention- BI? The Wikiprevent defines it like this- ‘Bystander Intervention is a philosophy and strategy for prevention of various types of violence, including bullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.’
Often we come across many types of violence- bullying, eve teasing, aggressiveness, uncomfortable jokes, unwanted touch etc in the public. As a bystander if we happen to see such cases what do we generally do? We might choose to intervene, or walk away. I used to do the latter because let me be frank. I did not want to put myself in
danger by helping out others. If I sensed a scene of violence my first act is to get away. But later my conscience used to prick me- I wish I was a bit braver.
Have you been guilty of such things as well? Have you seen someone behaving badly- let us say in the bus or train towards a girl, made her feel uncomfortable and you choose to see the other way? Or perhaps at the office you saw your colleague being uncomfortable with someone and you choose not to get involved? Perhaps you felt you should not intervene and makes things ugly? But later you felt guilty because you see deep down we all have the feeling of what is right and what’s wrong. When we choose not to react and stay passive we are fully supporting the wrong doer. Makes sense, yes.
But with Bystander Intervention you do have a choice. This means when you see an unhealthy situation you interrupt. No, I am not saying you need to be direct and in the process target attention to yourself- but hey there are other ways to deflect a situation. Let us talk examples.
At a party you see a teenager fully sloshed or perhaps tipsy. You have a choice. Either you walk away saying it is her life, or see to it that nothing happens to her. So you act. You could search for her friends, or get in touch with the bar manager like Divya Kannan, a psychologist did.
Another example. You see a person at the office behaving badly with a female colleague, perhaps you sense things are not right. You could just stand by her, be with her and ask her is she okay. You could rally your co-workers and see what could be done. In other words never think you are alone-involve the community, divert, deflect or offer support. This video ‘ D for Distract ‘sheds more light on distraction method.
You need inspiration? Then check this website out. There are some successful bystander intervention examples like alert citizens who stopped a baby from getting kidnapped, or showing empathy and lending a helping hand to a distressed female friend . You too can record your experiences here .
Curley Street , a Bangalore based film making company had dedicated September to Bystander Intervention and women safety. Its facebook page has a number of videos and medias related to it. So don’t forget to check it out.