Get up, stand up (16 April 2019)

Bob Marley sang: Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights. And the rights of others? How far should you - could you - go to defend yourself and others from rudeness, disrespect, bullying, even the threat of violence?

As with so much you do (or don’t do), it is your values that will move you towards action; but there are other things that will intervene, including your own safety and your risk assessment. Action can lead to harm for you, and repercussions for your family and friends; you have to weigh many things, and sometimes at short notice.

If you see someone being harassed, bullied, or discriminated against, you may know it’s wrong, but you may also be unsure how you can intervene and support the victim. Standing up for someone else can feel scary, and many people are reluctant to step in, but know that one voice can make a difference.

You can intervene in a situation by speaking to the victim and diffusing the confrontation, and supporting the victim after the incident. You can also take measures to prevent bullying and harassment in your own school or community.

If you feel like speaking up can be hard, you’re not alone. It can be hard for many people. But often, when one person speaks up, more people will start to intervene as well. Other strategies for defending people’s rights, especially when it comes to bullying, are below.

Of course, you could do nothing. But how would you feel; and would you not want someone to stick you for you?

All the best


Guidelines on standing up to bullying:
1. Be assertive. Don’t wait for a bullying victim to speak up and ask for your help. They may feel too threatened to be able to say anything. Try to take control of the situation and speak up for the other person first -- they may be relieved that they don’t have to. Understand that victims in a confrontational situation may be stuck in a physiological “freeze” trauma response, a common reaction to extreme stress. They may be paralyzed by fear and unable to effectively respond, making it important for a bystander to intervene. Be aware that you can help de-escalate some situations because of a real or perceived relationship with the bully. If you share race, gender, or culture with the bully, the bully may be more willing to listen to you because they may feel they have something in common with you. If you know the bully, you may also be more likely to be able to successfully intervene because of your ability to hold them accountable

2. Interrupt the harassment. When you see the bully harassing the victim, interrupt the bully by ignoring them and heading straight to the victim. Fully assess the situation for safety before you intervene. If you feel it is safe, you can physically get in between the victim and the bully to talk to the victim. Do your best to remove the victim from the bully as quickly as possible. Otherwise, get as close to the victim as you can. Starting a conversation with the victim gives them the power to decide if they want you to intervene or not. As you assess the situation, look for any possible weapons. Determine if the perpetrator is making physical threats, if the victim is injured, or if this is a possible sexual harassment or abuse. If any of these are happening, immediately get local police and emergency medical services involved. You can do this if you know the person or not. The victim will likely be willing to play along in order to stop the harassment. You could say, “Hey, I’ve been looking everywhere for you!” or “Oh my gosh, how are you? I haven’t seen you in ages!”

3. Use caution in addressing the bully. In many cases, directly confronting the bully may not be the best idea, especially if you are concerned that they may physically assault you. You could also end up becoming the bully’s next target. However, while maintaining a safe distance, it is wise to attempt direct eye contact with the bully. Be firm in your actions. You can do this without speaking to the bully. This will help you gain control over the situation as you cautiously approach the victim. Using this approach will also allow you to have a detailed description of the bully if you need to report the incident to law authorities later. - email: - tel: + (44) (0) 7890 360 806 - skype: tigercoaching1