ABC Show Asks: “What Would You Do?”

ABC Show Asks: “What Would You Do?”

Last Friday, the ABC show “What Would You Do?” featured a teen dating abuse situation. The program is a hidden-camera, reality show in which actors stage different scenarios in order to see how bystanders would react. In this episode, two teen actors played a couple in a park and while park-goers watched, the actor playing the boyfriend belittled the girl, grabbed her arm and threatened her. Watch part 1 by clicking on the still below.

Some bystanders intervened, some did not. People got involved at various levels too. One woman came sprinting down a hill to physically separate the two, while others said strong words but walked away. Others yet did nothing and pretended not to see.

After watching this segment, you can’t help but think of what you would do if you were a witness to that same situation. It can be hard to know how to respond. We at loveisrespect have some tips.

If you see abuse taking place:

Tell someone

Call 9-1-1 if you feel unsafe stepping in. If you’re at school and feel that you can leave the situation without your absence jeopardizing the victim, go tell a teacher. Or yell for a teacher if you don’t want to walk away. Make sure someone knows that this is happening.

Make your presence known

Stand around the couple. At several points in the videos, crowds start to form around the couple. Not only is there safety in numbers, but it puts pressure on the abuser to stop and it strengthens the resolve of the people watching to intervene since there’s a sense of group unity.

Separate the pair

Try to separate the couple if possible. Did you notice in the video when the former organizer of a woman’s shelter ushered the girl away from the boyfriend? Or when that mom guided the young girl away by saying “Let’s take a walk”? This is a good idea since it may calm down the abuser and it removes the victim from immediate harm.

Consider your re-enforcements

The young woman who rushed down the hill to intervene said that she felt safe in doing so because she had friends watching her. Use your group of friends the same way.

We hope that you will do everything in your power to help a person being abused. Some of our friends at the loveisrespect Facebook page wrote us telling about situations they had seen where no one acted to help. This does happen and we all have to do our part to keep those around us safe. Thanks for reading.

Comment section

3 replies
  1. I would step-in with precaution and guard my back with bystanders depending on how heated. I would also call the cops and stand as a witness but I would never walk by and do nothing. Been there myself and have no tolerance for any of it.

  2. Thanks for telling us how you’d react. I’m sorry to hear you experienced something so similar to this situation. You’re exactly right that you should tell someone who can help, while keeping your own safety in mind. Keep being someone who stands up for what is right!

  3. I would get involved if my son was not with me. He’s 3 months and I wouldn’t want to endanger him at all

Comments are closed.

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