“To understand how to be an ‘active bystander,’ one must first understand the ‘passive bystander’ effect. Research shows that when someone needs help and they are in a crowd, bystanders are less likely to act. The more bystanders there are to an event, the more each one thinks someone else will help. But, said psychologist Ken G. Brown, when one person takes an action, the passive bystander results are reversed. ‘We go from having a bystander effect where people are less likely to help to having what could be called a “helper effect” where …as long as one person actively helps, more people are more likely to jump in to aid further,’ said Brown. There are four key principles that guide active-bystander intervention, according to Maryland-based trainer Kit Bonson:
- Show moral courage by acting calmly on principle, not emotion.
- Engage in de-escalation by limiting the ways a situation might become worse; reduce drama.
- Prioritize the targeted person by asking if they want help. Don’t take away the targeted person’s agency. Act not as a savior, but as an actively concerned bystander.
- Ignore the attacker, create a safe space for the targeted person, and ask other bystanders for a specific action.
Hollaback, a global movement to end harassment in public spaces, identifies the four Ds of active-bystander intervention: direct intervention, distract (indirect intervention), delegate (ask others for help), and delay (respond to the targeted person after the situation is over). …In an era of increased bias incidents and a climate of fear, nonviolence and active-bystander intervention is what ‘love your neighbor’ looks like in public.” Rose Marie Berger
“Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho,
when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away,
leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road,
and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him,
passed by on the other side.” Luke 10:30-32
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Being a “good Samaritan” can be dangerous. Will that be enough to deter you?
- Are you determined to help? Are you mentally preparing for that moment?
- Are you practicing the kind of virtues now that you’ll need if you try to help then?
- Does this seem to you like an important issue? …one that Christians should be concerned about?
Abba, strengthen me to act when someone else needs me.
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. I appreciate it! – Bill