Where it is safe to do so, you have an opportunity to call others out when they speak disrespectfully to others.
During the pandemic we may become aware of this in a variety of ways:
- We overhear or see something when communicating via technology.
- We overhear or see something when moving about our community.
Disrespect may be shown through a put down, a sexist, racist, ageist or homophobic comment, silencing of someone, or one person exerting control over another.
This behaviour is never ok.
Our Watch recommends the following approach to be a bystander:
- Show: Actions speak louder than words. Use your body language to roll your eyes, shake your head, use your facial expression. Don’t laugh along.
- Support: Make sure the person who receives the put down or negative comment feels supported. Ask if they are ok. If someone else challenges the behaviour or comment, make sure you support them.
- Speak Up: Ask the person to stop, purposefully change the conversation.
Remember that this may not always be appropriate in the pandemic context. The following considerations are needed:
- The person may experience repercussions (such as violence, threats and arguments) if the perpetrator is challenged.
- Communication between you may cease, either by the person experiencing the negative behaviour or the perpetrator.
- Body language may not translate well across technological platforms. It may be misunderstood and may mean your message isn’t communicated.
For more information on being a bystander visit: http://doingnothingdoesharm.org.au/doingnothingdoesharm/home