In 1964 a woman by the name of ‘Kitty Genovese’ was murdered but was not found out for two or three weeks later. When her death was later published in a local newspaper, numerous neighbors came forward telling the police of their accounts of the murder. When questioned why they didn’t come forward sooner, the majority of the neighbours claimed that they didn’t feel like it was their place or responsibility. This became known as the bystander effect.
The bystander effect is a phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to persons in need, when others are present. The probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders. In other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. Why is this? Some say it is because of self-apathy, others argue personal boundaries, but I wonder whether or not it could be that we (as a society) have forgotten or neglected how to live in human relationship. Believe me, I am all for my own space but I wonder if we use that as an excuse sometimes to keep us from real, honest and true relationships.
Within the Gentle Teaching model, I believe that the four pillars of SAFE, LOVED, LOVING and ENGAGE, equip people with the ability to refute the bystander effect: calling us as individuals to first and foremost work on our hearts, while we turn towards serving and caring for others.
Ben, COR Support