What Should You Do When You Witness Abuse Happening In Public?

We’ve all wanted to be the hero but there are some serious risks that come with intervention

Alexandria Roswick
The Virago

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Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash

Have you ever been out getting a coffee and overheard someone shamelessly reviling their partner at the table next to you? Or have you been in line at the grocery store and seen a parent berating their crying child? Maybe you’ve been at a friend’s house for dinner and he suddenly begins to scream at his wife for dropping a plate.

Most of us have witnessed emotional or physical abuse in public. It’s jarring. It’s uncomfortable. And it could escalate and become even more dangerous for any party involved.

How do we react in these situations?

In my experience, I’ve found that most people don’t say or do anything. Once in a while, you see people try to diffuse the situation calmly or excuse themselves altogether.

But most of the time, people pretend it’s not happening. I’ve definitely been there. Although I don’t completely agree with this passivity, I’m deeply conflicted because I’m not sure if it’s ever safe to intervene.

Don’t get me wrong, these perpetrators are truly the worst that planet earth has to offer. If it were up to me, I would…

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Alexandria Roswick
The Virago

Top Writer in Feminism. Blogger for Say It Loud Space (UK). Trauma, relationships, and analysis of media and culture. https://linktr.ee/alexandriaroswick