The Importance of Speaking Up

We have all experienced moments where friends ask for advice about things that you probably haven’t experienced or can’t apply to yourself, but you still manage to help them out.

When you face the problem yourself, you sometimes get stuck and don’t know what to do because helping someone else can be easier than helping yourself. That happens when you speak up for others. The person that needs someone to speak up for them feels that their situation does not allow them to speak up for themselves, or they simply freeze and can’t manage to do so. It is very important to help people when it is clear that they need it, even when they don’t ask for it.

I have recently been watching YouTube videos of the show “What Would You Do?” where the host John Quiñones observes how people react to different dilemmas that are staged in public. There are some very powerful videos such as the ones of portrayed child predators with clueless underage girls, and others with abusive boyfriends.

These videos have really impacted me because where I am from, women are currently tirelessly fighting for justice regarding gender violence. Feminists are asking for a state of emergency because women are being kidnapped and killed, and the gravity of the situation is not being appropriately managed. The importance of speaking up should be frequently taught, because you never know if in a real-life situation you could be saving someone's life.

The first example of the “What Would You Do?” videos is of a child predator who pretended to be 16 when he was chatting online with a 16-year-old girl. As the girl is shocked and confused that he is clearly not 16, she keeps asking him questions about why he lied. He tells her that age is just a number and that they should leave the dinner and go to his house, drink alcohol and keep talking there.

As soon as he steps out, people reach out to her. As this scenario is being portrayed several times, it was good to see that they all responded the same. People were begging her not to go with him and helping her in any way by speaking up. They offered her a ride home and anything she would need to get out of the predator’s way. He was being very persistent, but people kept standing up for her and were very clear that she was not going with him.

The second video I saw was somewhat similar to this one since it was also of a child predator. It was about an older man seeing that a girl at a cafe had a guitar, and he was offering help with her music if she went with him. He stepped out for a moment and people spoke up and told her not to go and even invited her to their table so that she would be safe.

At the end there was a girl about my age who was very respectful to him while clearly telling him that she was not going to go with him because she didn’t want to. The girl looked frightened to speak up for herself, but thankfully there were people who were not scared. As I said before, these videos hit close to home and I can’t stress enough how important it is to be prepared for situations like this because you never know what can happen.

Something unexpected that can also happen is relationship abuse from a loved one, like a boyfriend. The third video I watched was portrayed by a young couple where the boy was grabbing his girlfriend very harshly, invading her privacy by taking her phone, and speaking poorly to her.

This dilemma was not responded to like the two examples above, and the reactions were very divided. The abysmal half minded their own business and tried to advise the people that were helping her not do so because they thought they were helping her by not getting involved.

There were two people of the competent half that inspired me the most. The first was a man that was appalled by the situation and told her she shouldn't be with someone like him, and even offered her money to get herself home safely. The second was a woman who went directly to the couple and told her in front of her boyfriend that she did not deserve to be treated like that, and since she is a mother, she was very uncomfortable sitting at her table and watching and hearing the abuse go on.

As I saw this I felt a connection to the woman. Even though I am not a mother, I know that I could not sit at my table and let this go on without taking action. It's examples like these that teach people the importance of knowing how to manage these situations efficiently.

no justice no peace protest sign Photo by Clay Banks from Unsplash To everyone reading this, I ask of you to have compassion for others, whether they are your friends, family or strangers. Even though these dilemmas were acted out, these situations are real and happen every day. We have to be prepared to face these situations, and it is our responsibility to get informed on how to do so.

Think of it as if you were the victim, would you want someone to speak up for you? Yes, you would, and it is great to see that there are people who have the courage to fight for what is right. Carrying a pepper spray at all times and sharing your location with your emergency contacts can also help you be safe.

If you are in a situation where you feel that you can't speak up and there is no one speaking up for you, use your own resources to find your way out of the situation. Having a sympathetic heart never hurt anybody, and standing up for someone else is always appreciated.


Photos: Her Campus Media Library

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