The by-Stander Effect Essay Sample

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So you may ask yourself…. Why do we automatically ignore the problem? One of the first steps in anyone’s decision to help another is the recognition that someone is actually in need of help. To do this, the bystander must realize that they are witnessing an emergency situation and that a victim is in need of assistance. Consequently, a major reason why eyewitnesses fail to intervene is that they do

they do not even realize they are witnessing a crime. When we are in an ambiguous situation and we are not sure whether there is an emergency or not, we often look to others to see how they are reacting. We assume that others may know something that we don’t, so we gauge their reactions before we decide how we will respond. If those around us are acting as if it is an emergency, then we will treat it like an emergency and act accordingly. But if those around us are acting calm, then we may fail to recognize the immediacy of the situation and therefore fail to intervene.

For example, imagine you are at the community pool and you see a child splashing wildly in the water. Your first instinct would probably be to look around you and see how others are responding. If others appear shocked and are yelling for help, you may conclude that the child is drowning and dive in to help. But, if those around you are ignoring the child or laughing, you may conclude that they child is just playing around. To avoid looking foolish, you would probably just continue watching and would fail to dive in and help. This seems like a reasonable approach and for the most part, it prevents us from making a fool out of ourselves. But the problem is that this tendency to look to others in order to determine how to respond can be biased by a phenomenon known as pluralistic ignorance. Pluralistic ignorance describes a situation where a majority of group members privately believe one thing, but assume (incorrectly) that most others believe the opposite.

1964. The “Kitty Genovese” incident, a young woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death outside her home in Queens, New York. Many of Kitty’s neighbors heard her desperate screams for help, yet no one called the police until it was too late. Report of this event shocked the city and the nation, and became the motivation for research on the psychological phenomenon that became known as the “Bystander Effect” by psychologists John Darley and Bibb Latané.

One reason that the bystander effect occurs in social places is known as “diffusion of responsibility”. Through numerous studies, psychologists have found that bystanders are less likely to intervene in emergency situations as the size of the group increases. The existence of others makes one feel less personally responsible for responding to events and each additional person present lowers the chances of anyone helping at all. People tend to assume that someone else will provide the necessary help, especially when there are many others around who could potentially do so.

A truly heat breaking situations that many of our fellow Australians are in is to do with street harassment. For myself, and I’m sure most of us, the most frustrating part about street harassment is how unacceptable and regular it is in our day to day lives. Every day without noticing you will see men making unwanted advances towards women while they are doing things in their daily lives. It could be at the shops or even at church. The harasser uses their position and takes advantage of the obligation of a female. The victims must smile through comments and intentions, for fear of being called by their harasser for being ‘rude.’ This is truly wrong and unacceptable but it is just one of the many ways that a bystander has ignored the situation at hand. And the droolingly sad part about this is that if someone was to step in to help…… you would too. And only because someone has already done this.

You can find your own ways of helping people in need and providing support for victims as well, but it is vital that we recognize our positions as bystanders when help is needed and become involved in stopping it in whatever ways we can. And starting now I know I am, and I hope you are going to stop the nonsense in out society and come to the realization that we don’t to do what everyone else is doing. To be the one that says I WILL HELP YOU SIR to a man in need. To be the first step in helping someone. And by doing that we are increasing the range of fixing the bystander effect. Because by you showing someone else that there is nothing to be afraid of they will take that knowledge on board and pass it on. And maybe we will one day you will be part of the solution of the bystander effect.

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