Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Bystander Effect

Bystander: One present but not taking part in a situation or event; a chance spectator

The Bystander Effect: A phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. When an emergency situation occurs, observers are more likely to take action if there are few or no other witnesses.

In 2010, a good samaritan saved a woman from a mugger with a knife, he (the good samaritan) was then stabbed multiple times in the chest and collapsed on the sidewalk. Within an hour and 20 minutes more than 25 people walked by and did NOTHING and in one case a man took a picture with his cell phone. 

The bystander effect is more than just standing around watching as someone is hurt and not offering assistance; it's also about watching injustice happen and choosing to remain silent, it's about driving past the homeless and feeling 'sorry' for them but never being compelled to act on their behalf, it's about knowing that someone is suffering from an addiction and choosing to say 'that's their problem'.We, as a nation, have in some ways become apathetic to the issues of this world, and our apathy is killing us!

I am of the opinion that if you see wrong, injustice etc and you willing choose to do nothing about it, you are guilty of inaction.
The Bystander Effect
The next time you see abuse happening, the next time you see a poverty-ridden community, or even if you hear about the famine in Somalia, or the lack of resources in Haiti... DO SOMETHING! There are victims that are depending on you to be a voice for them when theirs has been silenced. Make the conscious decision not to standby any longer. ACT, and act now!

As of August 2011, 29,000 kids under the age of 5 have died in Somalia due to the famine

Our action doesn't always have to be money oriented. I personally believe it's the accumulation of a large amount of small acts of kindness that will help to change this world. It doesn't cost any money to stop and help the elderly woman you see struggling with her groceries, nor does it cost any money to sign a petition to protect funding for clean water, but yet, we don't do these things.
All it takes are a large number of small acts of kindness

My ongoing question for 2012 will be, 'What role will you play?'. We spend too much time standing by and complaining about our current state of affairs but not enough time DOING something about it. If your community is infested with violence, what role will you play to make your community safe? If programs are being cut at your local schools, what role will you play to save or create new programs for the students? If the parks in your community are unsafe for your children, what role will you play in helping to clean them up?

Stop watching while people around you are hurting. Don't be a bystander, get involved!
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