Bystander or Game Changer?
- Issue 12
JUNE UPDATE 2016
A story that continues to trouble me since first hearing it in an undergraduate psychology class twenty years ago, is the murder of a woman named Kitty Genovese. It was New York City in 1964. Kitty, a young woman from Queens, was stabbed to death. But this was no ordinary murder. She was chased by her assailant and attacked three times on the street, over the course of half an hour, while 38 of her neighbours watched from their windows. During the entire half-hour ordeal, not a single one of them came to her aid or rescue. They didn't shout out or call for help. They didn't even bother to pick up the phone and call the police. As one reporter on the death of her killer two years ago, noted, her murder 'came to symbolise… indifference.'
I met the face of indifference last week when I asked a faith leader to tell us his reason for stepping up to help someone being harmed and, he replied, 'what's the point; it's not like we can change anything.' This indifference was reinforced by a misguided belief that 'all suffering is God's will' and, closely followed by, 'I have no personal responsibility to act' - otherwise referred to as 'the sin of omission.' That is, few of us actively harm others. But all of us, I suspect, have at times failed to help. In the language of the Good Samaritan, we have 'passed by on the other side.' Millions of acts of kindness, protection, help, passed over day after day.
If everyday evil has a reason to prosper - it is when I know the good I ought to do and don't do it. James 4:17
Between Jan and May 28, 2016, 30 women have been killed and, in most cases, by someone known to them (Counting Dead Women Australia). Faith communities are called to take action. Preventing family violence and, violence toward women, is not just the responsibility of governments ; it is the responsibility of each person and, the collective responsibility of all faith communities to step in when they witness intimidation, bullying, harassment, discrimination, abuse and violence.
Here's your opportunity to break through bystanding. Our training workshops help people to effectively and safely call each other out; to confront abuses when they occur. They offer skill-building opportunities – helping men and women to a point of having many options for action with only one wrong answer – and that is 'to do nothing.’
To find our more about TP events visit our website or book TP by completing our online inquiry form
Reminder of June training events coming up:
- Jun 4 - Workshop 1 - Anglican Parish of Balnarring & Flinders - 10.30am -1.30pm. Click to register
- Jun 27 - Presentation - Caritas - 8.30pm - 10.00 pm (closed)
Violence prevention resources
If you would like to show case the violence prevention work of your faith community or submit any success (or partial success) that you've had as an active bystander click here
Think Prevent is edited by Rosemary McCoy and Jill Graham; information is issued by Kempster Consultants. Our editorial, information about events, links, and reports within the e-Newsletter are not necessarily endorsed or supported by the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, its program partners Brotherhood of St Laurence or Anglicare Victoria or the Publisher
For further information contact: Dr Ree Boddé (M) 0450039288. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org