When people think about bullying, they tend to only remember two parties; The bully and the victim. We often forget that there is a third and equally important group: The bystanders. A bystander is anyone who witnesses an act of bullying. This can be a family member, a friend, a coworker, or even a stranger.
People often assume that anyone who witnesses bullying would immediately jump into action to stop the abuse, but this is not always the case. There are many reasons as to why a bystander may not interject in a bullying situation, regardless of if they know it isn’t right. They may feel unsafe to jump in, or worried that it will ruin their own social image. Regardless of what the reason may be, this can be combatted through a little bit of education. We have provided a few tips on how you can train yourself to be an “upstander” - someone who recognizes when something is wrong and acts to make a difference.
The first step is to question the situation. Evaluate what bullying is occurring, and whether it even is bullying. Take a moment to decide how you should step in. It is also extremely important to assess whether the situation is dangerous or not. If there is an immediate threat of violence, do not jump in and rather alert some form of authority.