It is important to consider how you might respond when you identify behavior in your life that is questionable, especially in relation to sexual and interpersonal misconduct.
The term “bystander effect” refers to people being less likely to offer help when they are in a group than when they are alone. That means that problematic behavior at parties, in classrooms, at tailgates, at club meetings, or at any other group event is more likely to go unchecked.
There are a number of possible reasons that contribute to the bystander effect. Perhaps they think nothing is really wrong because no one else in the group seems concerned. Or maybe they assume that the people around them are better equipped to handle the situation than they are. Sometimes people don’t help because they aren’t sure that a problem actually exists. And sometimes people don’t help because someone they trust, or someone in authority, is telling them that everything is okay.
It’s important to consider how you can personally counteract the bystander effect. You should always pay attention to what is going on around you. If a situation looks problematic, you should do something to respond to it. Don’t wait for your friend, neighbor, teammate, or classmate to do something. As a part of the UNC Charlotte community, you should take the initiative to call out concerning behavior.
Throughout your time at UNC Charlotte, you will have the opportunity to engage in various bystander intervention programs that dive deeper into the concept of the bystander effect and help you think through creative ways to intervene in a variety of situations. We hope you will take advantage of those opportunities. Take a few minutes to watch the following scenarios and see if you can recognize what’s wrong. If you find yourself in a situation like this, what would you do?