Why Get Involved II
By Laura Fogarty
Sometimes, when we talk about abuse and “getting involved” we think that means an intervention of the grandest variety. Someone says, “Get involved. Do something. Be a part of the solution,” and we conjure up images of dialing 911 or contacting Social Services. True, those actions are an unfortunate necessity in some situations, but sometimes, the answer is much, much easier and less intrusive. Abuse stops when we stop it, and sometimes that is as easy as recognizing when a boundary has been crossed.
Bystander intervention is defined
by Darkness to Light:
A bystander is a person who witnesses a boundary violation, or sees a situation in which a child is vulnerable. When intervening it is not important that you know the intentions of the person who has crossed the boundary. What is important is that you reinforce the boundary. It is okay if your intervention happens in front of others. In fact, setting limits in front of others creates a new norm in that environment. It also tells children that you know what the boundary is, and you will protect them.
When intervening in a boundary violation situation, take the following simple steps:
- Describe the inappropriate behavior to the person who has crossed the boundary.
- Set a limit on the person who has crossed the boundary.
- Move on.
It is important to remember that once you set a boundary, to make sure the person who has violated the boundary is willing to follow the limit you have set. If not, move the child to a safer situation. Moving on is a way to keep the situation from becoming dramatic or highly emotional. Here’s an example of putting this plan into action:
Describe the behavior:
“Sarah seems uncomfortable with that tickling.”
Set a limit:
“Sarah, let’s go see what the other children
are playing now.”
Getting involved doesn’t mean earth shattering, fist shaking action. It very often means making sure everyone is clear on what’s expected and what is acceptable and what is not.
So what are you waiting for? Get involved!
Because more often than not, it’s easier than we make it.
A great way to get involved right now is to become a Believer like me.