Stories of people being taken advantage of by people with power and influence are becoming far too familiar.
From Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, Afrika Bambaataa and even religious figures, sexual misconduct and exploitation is a hot-button issue in America these days.
The kicker is that people may have been able to put a stop to the abuse in some cases, especially the R. Kelly and Jerry Sandusky situations. However, witnesses of abusive acts sometimes choose to stay silent.
That’s a big problem.
The bystander effect is when a witness may be privy to information or flat out knows abuse is going on but doesn’t take action because they feel someone else will take action. There are also those who choose inaction out of fear of repercussions from the abuser.
This mindset causes the cycle of abuse to continue by the abuser while also causing the victim to stay silent because it seems like nobody cares about their plight.
So, what can a person do so they won’t participate in bystander culture to prevent abuse?
One way we can stop this culture of abuse is to be vigilant and be concerned about others around us.
You might be at an event where drinking is going on and notice someone happens to have too much to drink. Try to keep an eye on them so they can be safe. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you think something questionable is happening, but know your boundaries.
Be aware of the people around you in your environment whether it be work or school. Try to notice subtle mood changes and be friendly without being invasive.
And if you wield some kind of influence and power, make sure you use it to change the world and help people rather than use it to get what you want at the cost of others.