Even though tough laws have been made, crimes against women don’t seem to end. The situation has gotten worse in today’s age, as people don’t come forward to help the affected individual. This could be due to their general apathy, fear or just not knowing how to deal with the situation. If you are having similar doubts, here’s what you can do if you see a woman being harassed.
Assess the situation – Take a few seconds to analyze what exactly is happening. How many people are there? What time it is? Is the area a secluded place or there are bystanders nearby? Can the situation become worse if you intervene? Are the bad guys armed? Answers to such questions will tell you whether you need to intervene or not. You should intervene only if you are sure that you won’t get hurt in the process.
Don’t get into a fight – Unless you have superpowers, don’t get into a fight with the harasser. It will only escalate the situation and may harm you as well as the victim. You may not know what type of people you may be dealing with. Instead, engage the harasser in a neutral manner. For example, you can tell them that what they are doing is not right. Try to be persuasive, instead of being aggressive. You can back off is the situation gets worse.
Create a distraction – To diffuse a tense situation, a distraction can work much better. The idea is to talk something that is totally unrelated to what is actually happening. For example, you can tell the victim that you have lost your way and need direction to reach your destination. Or you can pretend that you already know the person and enquire about their health and wellbeing. Such distractions can help prevent an escalation, all while providing some relief to the victim.
Create a team – If there are other people around you, talk to them about putting an end to the harassment. Often, people are unwilling to intervene thinking that they are alone. But when you volunteer, it’s likely that people will come together to help. Even 2-3 people should be enough to take on a lone harasser.
Call the police – Before you intervene or do anything else, you need to call the police. Or you can ask someone else to do that for you.
Take a video – If you are unable to intervene directly, you can document the entire incident from a safe distance. For example, if you see the harassers with sharp weapons or guns, it would be better to call the police instead of directly confronting the goons. The video you capture can later help police to catch the culprits.