Thursday, December 16, 2010

What would YOU do?

http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/12/03/when-do-we-intervene/#comments

This is an interesting experiment in which people in a compound are subjected to loud drum music...and then on a different night...subjected to what they believe is domestic violence going on. People felt quite all right to bang on his door to object to his loud music...but not one person bothered to come complain about the assumed violence taking place in that same apartment.

It reminds me of my own home growing up...none of our neighbors ever bothered to respond to the violence Im sure they could hear coming from our trailer (trailers are not spaced that far apart for the most part) and neither could others who could see our bruises and injuries bother to inquire beyond the surface as to how we always seemed to be bruised and injured *hint hint much*.

How do we as a society decide on what we get involved with and what is none of our business? Loud music...my business....domestic violence...close my windows and pull the shades....hmmm.

6 comments:

Susanne said...

I've never recall hearing anything like this going on. I hope I never do, but if I suspected abuse, I hope I would speak up for the one being hurt. Do you think people believe those shouting noises could be the TV? I like to think people would help others, but maybe we are too much into minding our own business and not looking out for those being abused. :-/

janice said...

I would have no problem calling the police and/or confronting the abuser.

theamerarabwife said...

Reminds me of a study we talked about in my Sociology classes (way back in college). I don't remember all the details exactly, but basically a woman was attacked or murdered in broad daylight with dozens of people nearby, witnessing the attack, and no one stepped in. The conclusion was that everyone assumed someone else would get involved, thus absolving themselves of responsibility. I have also heard that people are much more likely to step in for certain types of crimes/accidents than others, and that if being attacked or in need of help, it is best to cry "Fire" regardless of what the problem is, because that is the type of thing people are most likely to try and help with!

BJR said...

I had a next-door neighbor in Massachusetts who lived with a violent boyfriend, and there were periodic fights. If I called the police, they came over (along with firetrucks, an ambulance --- the whole 911 response team), but she would refuse to press charges against the boyfriend. So all that happened was that both my neighbor and her violent boyfriend would be very angry with me for having called the police.

Sadly, it's pretty common that women are enablers --- they defend the batterers because "he can't help himself --- he loves me so much that he just gets jealous, but he feels terrible about it afterwards," "he promises that he will never do it again," etc. And the battered women blame themselves for bringing on the abuse ("I shouldn't have upset him"). All very sad, but the question that the neighbor who wants to intervene has to ask is, Is it worth my life to get involved? Because the one who intervenes may well be the next target. Calling the police doesn't stop the abuse if the woman refuses to press charges against the abuser (but it DOES make the do-gooder neighbor the object of her battering/battered neighbors' anger).

One of the hardest things to learn if you want to help someone is that whatever the desired outcome is, you can't want it more than the person you are trying to help. For example, if I see that someone is talented and could get a great job and lift him/herself out of poverty if s/he would just get a high school diploma, I could dedicate my life to trying to help that person study, tutor the person in the more difficult classes, etc. But I am just wasting my time if the person doesn't care enough to show up for class, do the homework, or generally make an effort. I can't do it for the other person. It's a hard lesson for someone to learn, if they want to help others, but it's true.

In the case of battered women, until the woman finally hears a wake-up call herself, nothing is going to change. And if states don't have laws to protect children from obvious abuse, the neighbors can't do much. It's sad, but that's the reality.

Jaz said...

Not always that simple though BJR, although I understand what you are saying and it is the case in most situations.. sometimes women are scared to leave. They're threatened with death if they press charges - it's not always "Oh she can leave if she wants". I know you're not saying it's easy but sometimes it's more than just defending him.

Marahm said...

We all realize that domestic violence is more serious than offensive music, but complaining about music is less threatening than calling the police for a suspected case of domestic violence.

The music incident is blown up and forgotten, but when someone calls the police, that call is not forgotten, especially by the accused person. One is always afraid that the violent person will turn and direct the violence to the caller.