Don't Be a Bystander

Content warning: this article links to a video with screaming and audible acts of domestic violence.

On October 16, a Twitter user by the handle @officalYFMS posted a video of himself which contained distant screams of a woman. The identity of this woman and the person causing her screams is unknown, but it’s clear as day that something horrible is happening in the background of this video. Although the video in of itself is deeply disturbing, it was the insensitivity and bystander effect of the cameraman that caught my eye and sparked my rage. 

Growing up, we learn about the bystander effect in regards to bullying. We’re taught if we see something, say something. This mantra should and does extend to other aspects of our lives. If you see something, say something. I’m not sure at what point people stopped applying this mantra. The cameraman in question is a prime example of failing to say something. Some people are under the impression that when you hear or see domestic violence occurring, you have to run in and silence the abuser which deters them from intervening. The reality is, although we’re not superheroes, we can take simple steps like calling the police to ensure that the environment is safe to intervene. There’s no blueprint for every situation and circumstance when witnessing a domestic violence act, but doing nothing does much more harm than good to the victim. 

With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I feel it’s extremely important to learn from people like @officalYFMS on what to do if you were ever in a situation similar to the one audible in the video. It doesn't take a knight in shining armor to aid someone in a domestic violence situationsometimes it’s a stranger walking down the street. If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence, please seek help and information regarding resources that can better aid your situation. If you see or hear an act of domestic violence, don’t turn a blind eye. Someone’s life might be depending on it. 

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Deaf/Hard of hearing: 1-855-812-1011

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