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People Nowadays: Why Don’t We Help? Less Is More, at Least When It Comes to Bystanders

People Nowadays: Instead of  helping you, they cause more harm.- Samuel Olaolorun

The more eyewitnesses
present, the less likely
people will help a victim.

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Why Don’t We Help?
Less Is More, at Least
When It Comes to
Bystanders

image

On October 24th,
2009, as many as
20 witnesses
watched as a 15
year old girl was
brutally assaulted
and raped outside a
homecoming dance
in Richmond, CA.

The viciousness of the attack
was shocking, but what was even more
shocking was the fact that so many people
witnessed the attack and yet failed to intervene
or call police. As one of the police officers
involved in the case states, “what makes it even
more disturbing is the presence of others.

People came by, saw what was happening and
failed to report it.” Some of the bystanders
reportedly even laughed and took photos of the
assault with their cell phones.

How could people just stand by and watch
something this horrible happen to a young,
innocent girl? Some have suggested that the
eyewitnesses’ failure to report the incident likely
resulted from a concern over being labeled as a
snitch. Although this is possible, social
psychological research on the bystander effect
suggests a different cause – there were too
many eyewitnesses present. The bystander
effect refers to the fact that people are less likely
to offer help when they are in a group than
when they are alone. Research on this effect
was inspired by a real-world account that
seems hauntingly similar to the recent event in
Richmond.

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