A bystander is someone who witnesses or hears about a situation that can impact another person’s safety or wellbeing. Often, a bystander is a person who simply ‘stands by’ without taking action. This can happen both online and offline.
Active bystanders, often called ‘upstanders’ in schools and with younger children, are those who intervene. They do something to support victims or challenge perpetrators. For instance, they might report the behaviour online, tell a teacher, share information to counter the narrative or reach out to the victim to show them they are not alone.
Passive bystanders do nothing, and this is the problem. Everyone’s Invited clearly shows that in so many situations, there are too many passive bystanders. This must change. We need more active bystander interventions in communities, schools and all the other settings that our children access.
In “Armies of Enablers” by Professor Amos Guiora, numerous survivors of sexual abuse in American sport share their stories. These stories feature themes around those people — the enablers — in victims’ lives who failed to intervene during incidents of grooming or abuse.
Everyone’s Invited shows that those in Education and Sport are just as complicit in the systematic abuse of so many children as the enablers in Guiora’s book. Essentially, many people just stand by without doing or saying anything.