I had a friend ask me yesterday “I saw a man hitting a woman at a bus stop… I called 911… What else should I have done?” Such a hard question to answer. I’d love to think that I could reach my red cape in the back of the minivan, pop it on and leap out to make a dramatic citizens arrest every time I pass by someone in need if support… But there are other factors to consider.
First is your safety. You would be walking up to someone who might as well have a neon arrow pointing at their head flashing VIOLENT PERSON. Unless you have specialized training in dealing with offenders of violence, a potential drunk or drugged person, you could become another victim of their attack.
Second, physical intervention could make it worse for the victim later. When confronted, many abusers become embarrassed… Because they do not have the skills of self regulation- proven by their abusive acts- they will not look inward but rather at the person who “caused” that embarrassment. The victim. “If you had not yelled then no one would have seen…” This could easily escalate the violence.
Third, the police should have a record. When/if someone decides to leave an abusive relationship, a paper trail is good. It will help in divorce and/or custody issues.
But if you are like me…. Or any of the guys and gals that I call friend…. Sitting by and doing nothing when you know a friend or colleague is in trouble is not a viable option. Soooooooo…. If you think that someone you know is being abused…. Check out DVSD’s link for some concrete tips on what you can do.
Inaction is action…. But knowing the right way to act is key…