By H Mac Wooten
It really IS up to you.
The bystander effect or Genovese syndrome is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other people are present. The probability of help has often appeared to be inversely related to the number of bystanders; in other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. The mere presence of other bystanders greatly decreases intervention. In general, this is believed to happen because as the number of bystanders increases, any given bystander is less likely to notice the situation, interpret the incident as a problem, and less likely to assume responsibility for taking action.
Do you recall the story of Kitty Genovese? On March 13, 1964 Genovese a 28 year old woman, was on her way back to her Queens, New York, apartment from work at 3:am when she was stabbed to death by a serial rapist and murderer. According to newspaper accounts, the attack lasted for at least a half an hour during which time Genovese screamed and pleaded for help. The murderer attacked Genovese and stabbed her, then fled the scene after attracting the attention of a neighbor. The killer then returned ten minutes later and finished the assault. Newspaper reports after Genovese’s death claimed that 38 witnesses watched the stabbings and failed to intervene or even contact the police until after the attacker fled and Genovese had died.
This example may be somewhat disturbing, but the point I’m trying to make is: YOUR individual help is often needed. Don’t think others are going to step up to the plate and take action. Get involved when there is help needed.
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Teach a Teacher and our Volunteers provide Professional Development and help teach basic teaching skills to Teachers in some of the poorest areas in Peru. Please visit us at www.teachateacher.org and www.teachateacher.wordpress.com and at teachateacher on Facebook.
Mac Wooten is President of Teach a Teacher nonprofit. A native of Greenville S.C. We live and focus most of our work in the Ancash region of Peru.