On Tuesday, Oct. 31 Lewis University students gathered for a bystander intervention workshop hosted by the Student Center for Health & Counseling Services, which aimed to promote anti-bystander and anti-bullying strategies.
In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month, students learned about ways to recognize bullies in their own lives as well as how to stand up against them.
The workshop was presented by Jessica Sheppard, peer educator for the student wellness advisory group.
She began by saying it is “important to talk about and recognize those people in our everyday lives,” emphasizing the fact that bullying does not just happen to children. It is a prevalent aspect in adults’ social life, whether it be intimidation through superiors, manipulation through significant others or passive-aggressive behaviors among friends. Sheppard described different types of antagonizers, such as physical, material, verbal, passive-aggressive and cyber bullies.
The second portion of the workshop discussed how to be an effective advocate against bullying.
Sheppard began the back half of the presentation by stating “if you see something, say something.” She went into detail explaining the “bystander effect,” which, as Sheppard explained, “occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.” Students were then prompted to watch a video that demonstrated the bystander effect. In the video, a child actor was abducted by a male actor. Although the situation was staged, it took almost two hours for wtinesses to intervene and help the child. The video shown is one example of how many individuals choose not to intervene in emergency situations.
With that in mind, Sheppard explained a few reasons why people choose not to intervene and help those in need. Students discussed possible reasons as to why individuals act as a bystander rather than an advocate. Many mentioned that people may not be confident in standing up to others, especially if the perpetrator is bigger in size. Along with that, many also thought that others would be hesitant to step up if they felt the situation did not call for immediate action.
For more information on events offered by The Center for Health & Counseling Services, visit: lewisu.edu/studentservices/health/.