In psychology, the term Bystanders Effect is when a person fails to take action in the case of an emergency simply because there is the presence of others around. In other words, it can be referred to as confusion of responsibility whereby nobody wants to help when there is an emergency, especially to improve the victim. Research proved that people are likely to helpless when there are other people around, unlike when they are alone; this is mostly because they assume that the other person will take action. It is dangerous behavior to inhibit, and unfortunately, it is what is happening primarily in today’s societies; nobody wants to take action. In an emergency such as sexual assault, most witnesses are found to have the bystander effect behavior simply because most of them do not feel they have the capability to intervene in such a case. However, they fail to intervene due to compilations of other reasons as well; others think the people around them will take them negatively when they see them helping. This has, therefore, made researchers come to the conclusion that the bystander effect has contributed largely to sexual assaults and ways to prevent this behavior continue to spread is essential. Some other reasons may be because the bystander feels it is none of his or her business to stand in and help out, others think them helping out will cause another scene, and therefore they decide to not step in because they are afraid of the crowd or the of the other people watching the scene. In the case of sexual assault, bystanders are in a better position to help prevent it from happening, but most do not want to offend their friends by trying to stop them.
Majority of the sex assaults that have been reported in the US have been found to have been committed by the people the victims already know, and therefore there is need to find ways in which bystanders can help in preventing such cases from occurring.
Rape can be defined in various ways; it can be any of this attempt of penetration whether through the vagina, or complete, oral or anal penetration that is as a result of physical force or the assaulter pausing a threat to the victim. In most cases, the victims are usually put under some situations such as being under the influence of alcohol, drugs or some may even be unconscious when all these are happening, therefore, cannot be able to consent. In other words, sexual assault is when the victim is forced to have sexual contact forcefully. Most victims of sexual assaults are females more than the male. Additionally, sexual assaults are less committed by strangers, but people the victims already know, it could be acquaintances, classmates, or even friends. In some instances, the victims are taken out on a party or are drugged in the presence of others who choose not to do anything about it; it may also occur when the victim goes to their acquaintances alone, and the other friends leave the victim and the assaulter alone. This contributes hugely to this crime.
There are various stages that proof that bystanders contribute to sexual assault, firstly, they notice what is happening. Here the bystanders are aware of the event that is or has taken place already. Secondly, they recognize that there is a problem in the event that is happening. They know that there something with what is happening. Thirdly, they assume that they need to take responsibility as a part of the solution. The next stage is they now decide how they can be of help in such an emergency. This entirely depends on the bystander, and they may choose to help or not. When they have enough confidence, they may intervene and help out, but in the case where they do not feel they have enough skills to assist most bystanders here to fail to do anything to help the victim. In as much they already are aware of what is happening, they still do not take action.
However, the willingness of the bystanders to help hugely depends on the setting of the community or how the situation has been presented. Some communities may choose to ignore the efforts a bystander is trying to put into helping the situation, and that becomes a problem that causes most bystanders to fear how they are going to be viewed when they step in to help in as much as they were more than willing to assist.
Bystanders intervention in the case of the prevention of the sexual assault simply focuses on the bystander taking the appropriate measure in preventing the sexual assault from occurring the first place. Since women are mostly at high risk to fall, victims of this assault, bystanders should take responsibility to stop their friends or intervene when there is any suggestive act that may lead to sexual assault eventually. A bystander can, therefore, prevent such an act from occurring by ensuring that their fellow friend does not drug a woman with the intention of taking sexual advantage on the girl.
Sexual assault can be prevented by focusing on the roles of the bystander in such a case. Unlike the traditional ways to prevent sexual assault, there are different programs that have been developed to help the bystanders understand more on what actions to take in case of an emergency case such as sexual assault in this case. Holding an education program can help bystanders gain confidence and feel they possess the necessary skills to intervene in such a situation. In this program, they are not only how to intervene during action but also when they notice suggestive actions that may lead to sexual assaults. Guiding them on how to speak out in such a situation and also how to support the survivors are also some of the ways that help to prevent sexual assault. Different models are also provided in the education programs, and that help the bystander to be competent when attempting to help the victim during emergent cases.
In conclusion, bystanders should understand that they have an impact whenever they step in to help in any capacity, however small. When the bystander has effectively addressed the five stages discussed above, they are in a better position to help the victims of sexual assaults. Prevention programs are also important for anyone to take so that they may be able to identify whenever danger is about to occur and try to stop it before it has occurred. Each bystander should understand that it is their responsibility to intervene in any circumstance that seems to be endangering the other person. There is a need for different education programs on intervention to be tested all across to ensure that people have been equipped with the right skills to be able to handle various settings of emergencies.
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