New York Times
Do you dive to stop the assault?
Imagine you were walking down the street and saw a man beating an older woman violently. What do you do if you are only a passerby? That question about ethical responsibility to help strangers in pain and dynamics that prevent people from acting has been the focus of research for decades, and last week’s two chilling incidents. Helps to inform some of the discussions. In one to sign up for a morning newsletter from the New York Times, a man beats a passenger on the New York subway and chokes unconsciously. Second, perpetrators on the busy Midtown Street in Manhattan slam Filipino migrants on the ground and repeatedly kick their heads. The video posted prompted a swift blame, as many asked why witnesses did not appear to have intervened during the violence. For many, the incident has revived general dissatisfaction with the atomized selfishness of the inhabitants of large cities. “New York has once again solidified its long-standing reputation for indifference,” wrote Alex Roe, a columnist at the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. “Given the widely reported levels of ethnic violence against Asians in recent months, it is even more puzzling why no one saw it as appropriate to intervene to help these two victims. But those who study what is known as the bystander effect say that the story of ruthless indifference is an outdated metaphor that dates back to the New York Times account of the 1964 killing of Kitty Genovese. She was a bar manager who died after being stabbed outside her building in Queens, but it seems that 30 neighbors ignored her cry for help. Since then, many important details of the article have been revealed, and while the allegations that 38 people have witnessed the crime have been highly exaggerated, this account has gained international attention and urban life. It fueled a predominantly one-sided debate about danger. Crime has also spawned an entire department of psychology dedicated to understanding the dynamics of behavior of people in the face of public violence. And in the meantime, researchers support the general belief in the cold separation of urban dwellers primarily by canards, with media explanations grabbing the headlines of those who appear to be ignoring ongoing crimes. I found that it has been done. According to experts, such incidents are actually very rare. In a 2019 study published in the journal American Psychologist, British and Dutch researchers reviewed 200 violent quarrel surveillance footage in three countries, with bystanders intervening for about 90% of the time. discovered. In many cases, some strangers worked together to calm the battle. The authors of the study found little change in intervention rates in the three cities of Amsterdam. Cape Town, South Africa; Lancaster, UK — suggests that the human urge to help strangers is universal, despite the risks to their own safety. Richard Philpot, the lead author of the study, said the uniform incidence of interventions was particularly surprising given the horrifying climate of Cape Town, a city with a relatively high incidence of violent crime. .. Philpot, a social psychologist at Lancaster University, said: “This is certainly encouraging. I know that others around me are a resource for good, not exclusively blocking aid.” Still, the decision to intervene is real. There are risks. Earlier this year, Chinese immigrants, who reportedly suffered from a series of attacks on Asian Americans, died after being stabbed in an attempt to disperse a street quarrel in Brooklyn. In 2020, a man who intervened in a battle at Haarlem subway station was pushed into a railroad track and killed by a train. Jackson Katz, co-founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention, is an influential program that allows people to intervene in cases of sexual assault, and the main reason people fail to act in the face of violence is He said he was scared, not indifferent. “From the outside, it’s easy to look at these people and say,” Oh, you’re a coward, you’re indifferent, “or” Our culture is so messed up, “but in physical retaliation. Fear can be paralyzed. If people are terribly upset about what they are witnessing, “he said. “And, especially in countries where guns are everywhere, it’s a real horror.” In a sense, it’s from former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged with killing George Floyd in Minneapolis. Explains some of the tragic testimonies I heard last week during the trial. Witnesses stood up to explain their frustration and helplessness when police officers knelt on Floyd’s neck and ignored their plea. Dhanera Frazier, 18, testified that she might be awake at night, saying, “George Floyd did nothing more, did not interact physically, and did not save his life. I apologize to you”. Fear is not the only factor that determines whether bystanders act at such moments. Social psychologist Bibb Latané, who helped pioneer the field of bystander intervention in the years following the killing of Genovese, explains another driving force that could lead to inaction among strangers who witnessed the crime. did. Ratane, along with social psychologist John Darley, sought to recreate a real-life emergency through a series of laboratory experiments with strangers. The more spectators there are, the less likely people are to intervene. They are also a concept known as social impact, where strangers unknowingly get clues from those around them and are unlikely to intervene when others are similarly passive. I decided. In an interview, Ratane said that the theory he and Darley developed nearly fifty years ago was often overlooked by those who adhered to the general notion of emotionally distant bystanders. He said these sentiments were often instigated by the news media and tended to publicize cases in which witnesses did not act, ignoring cases of onlooker intervention. “It’s a rare event that makes it newsworthy,” he said. “It’s not indifference, it’s social restraint, and I’ve always thought it’s unfair to be blamed for what happened to Genovese in New York.” Recent studies examining real-life interactions have shown their previous work. I am questioning some of my discoveries. For example, a 2019 study by Philpot found that increasing the number of bystanders increased the likelihood of intervention. Upon reviewing the surveillance footage, researchers found that on average at least three people chose to act, and determined that each additional bystander increased the chances of the victim receiving help by 10%. did. Philpot said his work wasn’t aimed at testing bystander effect theory, but findings suggest that numbers are safe. “The presence of more bystanders may reduce the likelihood of each individual intervening, but it also provides a wider pool of potential aid providers and thus aid from at least someone who is a victim. It increases your chances of receiving it, “he said. Bystander effect expert and author of The Response: A Complete Guide to Bystander Intervention, Alan Berkowitz said that other factors, including the race of the perpetrator and victim, are strangers to people. Needs to say that it can play an unconscious role in deciding whether to help. “Surveys show that, for example, white bystanders may find it worthless while involved in an incident involving two people of color, but in a battle between two white male executives. You may find it more comfortable to intervene, “says Berkowitz. A psychologist who runs workshops for college students, community groups, and military members on how to effectively intervene to prevent violence and sexual assault. “Training yourself to be aware of these things and training them to perform safe and effective interventions makes it more comfortable to act on the desire to help.” Those tactics Some of these involve finding ways to distract the perpetrator, seek help, or ask other bystanders to intervene more cooperatively. “It’s really important to talk to other bystanders, as they often don’t know what others are worried about,” he said. However, as in the case of Genovese, the initial explanation of the crime and the response of the bystanders are often incomplete. And video footage does not always tell a complete story. According to police, in the case of recent subway beatings, the victims were Hispanic rather than Asian and could have instigated violence with racial slander. Experts say that filming an attack is also an act of courage that can discourage perpetrators from doing more serious harm. It also serves as an invaluable tool for bringing perpetrators to justice. In the case of an attack on a woman outside a Manhattan apartment, the victim’s daughter said someone tried to help: a passerby yelled at the perpetrator in an attempt to distract him. There was no call to 911, but a union representing the doorman watching the attack from inside the lobby closed the front door when the assailant escaped, but a short clip of surveillance footage said it wasn’t. And defended the man. Please indicate what happened after that. According to the union, men went out to help women and flagged police cars passing by. This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company