Today is Wednesday, Sept 22, 2021. The first day of Autumn! It’s like a week or so ago someone flipped a switch, and virtually overnight we went from Summer to Fall. That’s just the way seasons change in the Emerald City.
In last week’s class a participant shared a bystander intervention success story. She has this neighbor who, when he sees young kids or smallish older women walking by on the street, aggressively approaches them. He would yell profanities, gesticulate menacingly, and try to get uncomfortably close. Those targeted, their reactions were — not surprisingly — fearful; they’d try to make themselves smaller, sometimes even apologize, and try to back away as quickly as possible.
This student had had enough of the spectacle. One recent day the neighbor had begun his rant on yet another older woman walking her small dog. My student strode near to him (keeping distance of course) and told him to leave, to stop harassing people. Yes she did raise her voice. The neighbor was taken aback, and he left. And, ever since then, whenever he sees my student, he retreats back to the safety of his own abode.
We had been doing more work with bystander intervention since the beginning of the pandemic in our virtual classes. It is a valuable skill so I’ll be bringing it more into my longer classes (those would be the 5 hour Self-Defense Seminar and the 6 week Self-Defense 101).
A lot of us envision bystander intervention as something scary we would do with angry strangers on the street, or bus, or grocery store. And those instances are important. Most opportunities, however, will arise in more familiar settings, and involve people we know. People with whom we’ve some history, and can often guess their reactions. And it’s great to learn and practice some skills to make your day-to-day living smoother and more peaceful. I’ve got a full range of classes coming up this fall, and I’m slowly getting my winter offering up online.
Do you have a bystander intervention success story you’d like to share?
Stay safe, live life.