Bystander Intervention – It works!

Once I saw another woman being harassed. I was walking with my friend on Bank Street when I saw an older man with his bicycle talking to a woman ahead of me. I could barely pick up their words, but I could tell she was uncomfortable. I told my friend I thought something was going on and that I was going to go up and confront the situation. I’m not exactly the most outgoing person, but something snapped in me and I just walked right up to her.

I tried to play it off like I knew her by saying hi, asking how she was, and if she knew the man. She had her head down when she simply replied “I’m okay.” The man was continuing to talk to her, asking if she wanted a ride over and over. “Are you sure” he’d say, as she just tried to continue on her way. I don’t even remember what my friend was doing at the time as I was just in a mode of sorts. I told the guy harassing her that she was fine and didn’t need a ride. Again he persisted, and again I told him “No, she’s fine.” He huffed as he turned his bike and crossed the street. I said something to the effect of “what an asshole” to the girl. She didn’t say anything that I remember, but I probably wouldn’t have said a word after experiencing that myself. I said take care as I consciously slowed my step so that my friend and I could walk behind her again, in case the crazy came back.

My friend (who was male) said I was crazy for doing that. If it’s crazy to help someone who looks like they need it, then I’ll happily be crazy. I know I’d want someone to step in on my behalf if I were dealing with such a thing, and it felt good to be able to help her in that way, especially when I CAN relate to exactly what she was experiencing at that time. I still wonder if I’d have found the strength to do that had I not had my friend there at the time. I’d hope so.