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Do Bystanders Have A Responsibility To Intervene?

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: General Studies
Wordcount: 1471 words Published: 4th Sep 2017

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Everyone needs help at some point in their life. When someone is in trouble and needs help, I assume that person would want someone to step in and help them when they are in need. But that is not what always happens. Sometimes when people see someone in trouble they wont intervene at all, they will just keep watching or walk by like they did not anything. Sometimes people will see someone in trouble and literally pretend like nothing is happening. People play an important role when it comes to someone needing help. They can either do the right thing and help the person in need or be a useless bystander and let whatever happens happen (Which is very selfish). I believe that as a bystander, you have a responsibility to intervene when there is a trouble.

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I am a strong believer in the golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – Rosemary K.M. Sword, Philip Zimbardo. If and when you see a person in trouble it is up to you to decide whether or not you are going to assist that person or let them fend for themselves. If you decide that you are not going to help that person, I assume that you are a very selfish and self – centered person and that you do not care about anyone but yourself. Therefore if you were the one in trouble, you would not want anyone to help you out in a similar situation. I find people like that very foolish. If you were in trouble and help was available, why wouldn’t you accept the help? Now I know there are certain people in this world that just don’t want help or think they can handle the situation by themselves. Some people have too much pride or too big of an ego. These people don’t want to look weak in front of everyone or be looked down upon for not standing up for themselves. Men are more prone to not ask or accept help when it is offered. On the other hand females would willingly accept help when they are in trouble. Ego is not such a big problem in women as it is in men. For example if there is a woman in public and everyone sees this guy harassing and bothering her after she has repeatedly told him to stop, I can guarantee you, if and when someone steps in to help the woman is not going to turn down the offer. If she does she foolish. However if it was a man being harassed instead of a woman, the man would probably either calmly walk away or end up fighting the guy harassing him. He would probably tell the person who intervenes to back off and that he has the situation under control. If the man being harassed was of a calmer demeanor he would either ignore the man harassing him or just calmly walk away.

Everyone should get the same treatment no matter what. But sometimes it does not always happen like that. Sometimes peoples decision whether or not to intervene when there is trouble can be altered by certain factors. These factors include the bystander effect, gender and/or sometimes even race. “The bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation” as described by John Darley and Bibb Latane. For example Bibb and John were two social psychologists who were teachers in NYC during the 1960’s. Around that time the infamous murder of Kitty Genovese occurred. Even though Kitty Genovese was continuously screaming and shouting to try and ward off her assailant, none of her neighbors from her apartment complex helped her. They all stood there and watched her get stabbed to death. But if they saw her getting attacked, why didn’t anyone help her and save her life? The answer may be simpler than you believe. Pluralistic ignorance – “When the group’s majority privately believes one thing and mistakenly assumes that most others believe the opposite” – Melissa Burkley. For example, let’s say there was a car wreck on the highway and all these cars are just driving by then you drive by just like everybody else assuming that someone else has already called 9-1-1 or that someone has stopped by to help the car crash victims to make sure that they are ok. Another good example which you may or may not have been apart of happens in the classroom more than you think. Lets assume your teacher just finished teaching a very difficult lesson and is about to hand out the class’ worksheet. But before she hands out the lesson worksheet she asks the entire class if anyone has any questions about the lesson and is there anything they want her to go back over one more time. Let’s one of her students is confused and he wants to ask the teacher a question about the lesson. He will probably scan around the classroom and look to see if anyone else was going to raise their hand to ask the teacher a question . When he saw that no one else raised his/her hand he stopped himself from putting his hand up. He did this to avoiding looking dumb and so he would not be recognized as the only person in the class who was confused and had a question about the lesson the teacher had just taught literally minutes ago. From a teachers point of view you could conclude that if one of the students had a question there’s a good chance that a good majority of the students had a question and were puzzled and confused. One student not being able or afraid to ask the teacher her question can result in the whole class suffering due to that one student’s decision.

Some think that gender may also play a role in whether or not people intervene when someone is in trouble and vice versa. Men in our world today are portrayed as aggressive, rational, and very competent and powerful. While women are looked upon as passive, sensitive, and very supportive. These traits in both men and women can greatly affect whether or not someone would help them or step in if they were in any kind of trouble. Let’s start with the men. Assume it’s a public setting at a park and all of a sudden there’s a big commotion by one of the park benches because a man took Tony’s seat. Everyone sees Tony arguing with the man and as time goes on the argument gets more and more intense to the point where they are about to start fighting. Would anyone step in and beak it up? If you saw 2 grown men that were about to fight would you stop them or wait to see what everyone else was going to do before you make a move. I would jump in and stop them and try to talk them down until they both calmed down and went their separate ways. It’s just the right thing to do. If that was you in that situation I bet you would want someone to help you out, especially if you knew that you probably wasn’t gone win if y’all really did fight. Now women on the hand is a lot different. Here’s a scenario, there’s a middle aged woman standing in the shade of a tree relaxing minding her own business at a park. Then a few minutes later a stranger walks up to her and starts harassing . At this point you can assume that pretty much everyone in the park knows or is watching the stranger harass this woman. Since female are perceived as weaker than their male counterparts I believe that within two minutes of the woman being harassed a man/woman either stepped in and forcefully removed the stranger away from the innocent woman or if they were female they told them to leave her alone . That woman did nothing to deserve being harassed, but would the result have been the same if she did something to deserve it? Let’s say it’s that same woman and stranger in the same setting but this time the woman stole the strangers wallet and walked off and stood under the tree in the shade relaxing. The stranger comes over the old lady talking aloud asking why you stole my wallet. Everyone hears this recognizes the stranger as the one who needs help. The woman refuses to give the stranger his wallet back. At this moment I believe one to two other males and one female would have stepped in to help the man get his wallet back. The role of the bad guy all depends on the circumstances and the situation.

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In conclusion I firmly believe that bystanders do have a responsibility to intervene when there is trouble and they play a big part in determining how that situation is going to end. If no one helps it ends badly, if someone steps in to make things right, everyone goes home happy. I believe that the reason some people intervene is because they believe that in the future they will receive that same help if and when they are in trouble. What goes around comes around if you don’t step in to help a person in need, then you must not want help if and when you get into any sort of trouble.Just do the right thing be a good samaritan.


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