Sexual Assault is a global issue and affects men, women, and children of all ages.
Please understand that we are all interconnected; I’d like everyone to feel safe, and we build a culture where everyone has a responsibility to intervene when they witness a crime or an injustice.
March 13th is the annual anniversary of one of the most infamous crimes of the 20th century, one that ignited a firestorm, with its impact still felt today:
At around 2 a.m. on a cold winter morning in 1964, a 29-year-old family man named Winston Moseley got up from his bed, got dressed, and headed out to his car. Leaving behind his sleeping wife and two sons, the man with no criminal record drove around the New York borough of Queens with only one thing on his mind: killing a woman. And when he spotted 28-year-old Kitty Genovese emerging from her car around 3 a.m. after finishing her shift as a manager at a local bar, he sprang into action.
Chasing her to her Kew Gardens apartment building, he repeatedly stabbed her as she screamed “somebody help me!” Apartment lights went on, windows were opened and when a neighbor yelled out “leave the girl alone!” the man quickly retreated to his car. But soon he was back, and continued to stab the moaning and bleeding Genovese until she was dead. No one who saw the crime (by looking out of their window and/or heard her screams for help) did anything…not even something as simple as to call 911, for thinking someone else had done so.
In 65% of crimes a witness is present, I feel this is a startling percentage. A Bystander is someone who witnesses a crime and may not know what to do. It is our responsibility as citizens to intervene and to do something during these types of situations. The Bystander approach gives community members a way (tools) to get involved based on their particular comfort level.
According to the YWCA of Silicon Valley Rape Crisis Center: based on a one’s comfort level, there are three (3) ways “Bystanders” can intervene (in other words get involved) if they witness a crime or incident:
a. use a direct approach: (go up and confront the person causing the disturbance)
b. partner with someone: (get others to help you with this…for example calling 911)
c. divert the attention away from the participants: (doing something to distract from the situation at hand…like yelling fire!)
After watching the Domestic Violence (POWA Ad) video, discuss your thoughts and feelings by answering the following questions. Remember to answer every part of the questions posed…express yourself with as much precision as possible, no reference required:
1. Describe how you felt after watching the video.
2. What makes someone likely to intervene or interfere with a noise disturbance of drumming and not likely to a distressful screaming noise?
3. Take a moment and really think about what are ways a person can safely help if they are a witness to a crime or incident and why do you think these would be helpful suggestions?
4. If you were the neighbor listening to these noises, would you get involved? Why or why not? What would you do or not do and why?