Dear Engaged Bystander: With only one week to go in my blogging, I wanted to reflect back on some issues and articles I missed along the way. Do you ever wish you had said something but didn't? Well, there is one article that has stuck in my mind for a while now. A letter to the Ethicist appeared in the NY Times Magazine section a few weeks ago.
Dear Engaged bystander: I absolutely believe that ALL of us have many bystander stories to tell. In fact, if we interact with people every day, we have a story would could tell every single day. If we look at a time in our lives where we were being teased, sexually harassed or worse and someone did something – there is a story to tell. Or if we look at a time in our lives where we saw someone else who was uncomfortable or teased, sexually harassed or worse and we said something or did something to stop what was going on – there is a story to tell.
Dear Engaged Bystander: A few months ago, I had the pleasure and privilege to interview Cassandra Thomas , Director of the Houston Area Women Center for her incredible story of hope. In her story, she certainly busted my own stereotype of a college fraternity when some friends at a fraternity literally pulled her from a car because she was drunk, with a guy she did not know and they also knew she was recovering from a recent rape. Cassandra’s honesty about this event is both moving and profound. She also takes this story and the commitment of these young men into her work today where s
Dear Engaged Bystander: When I give talks, I think that the hardest concept to get across is that our current frame for decision-making is wrong. Talk with anyone who sees something that makes them uncomfortable (e.g., a man pushing against a woman breasts in a NYC subway or a neighbor taking pictures of all the young girls at the public pool) and the decision they are trying to make is “to do something or do nothing”. I think that when we are uncomfortable, we need to decide WHAT is the best and safest thing for me to do in this situation. And there are hundreds of actions we can take in
Dear Engaged Bystander: 50 years later, the impact of a bystander to child sexual abuse could not be more profound. Imagine finally making the decision to talk about incest with your elderly aunt – only to find that she is willing to listen, acknowledge your reality and loving say “I am happy to hear you know it was not your fault.”
Dear Engaged Bystander: Abraham Toure is being called a hero by local police for helping a rape victim who screamed for help. He says, he is not a hero, what he did is "just normal human behavior… I was thinking I could only imagine how scared this girl must be. I was just thinking, 'What can I do to help her?'"
Dear Engaged Bystander: The most powerful work that I have done in my career was to create public dialogues between survivors of child sexual abuse and abusers (Tabachnick, 2004). I first created these forums while working with Stop It Now. Over time, I have created many public dialogues in churches, community rooms, and conferences. For each of these events, I had the privilege to collaborate with survivors who had spent years working through the trauma they ha
Dear Engaged Bystander: Listening to stories is my passion – I learn so much from hearing how people cope, how people change, and I am especially moved by the strength and courage it takes to emerge into a new life after experiencing profound trauma. Stories are the way that people make sense of themselves and their world (Shannon, 1995). Throughout my career in prevention, I had the privilege of hearing hundreds of stories from families and friends who cared deeply enough to reach out for help. These are the stories that I carry wit
Dear Engaged Bystander: We don’t often hear about male on male sexual abuse on college campuses. And according to one expert, that is part of the problem. Shira Tarrant acknowledges her reluctance to speak out initially and said that she was compelled to speak up because sexual assault breeds in a Petri dish of silence.
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