Observers believe that those who don’t act to stop bullying and discrimination support that behavior.
Observers believe that those who don’t act to stop bullying and discrimination support that behavior. From the point of view of the victim, particularly, inaction is interpreted as agreement. Otherwise, any decent person would intervene, they say.
Do bullies also believe that passivity on the part of observers denotes acceptance or approval of their behavior? That is exactly what we found over and over in industries (e.g., oil, chemicals, manufacturing, +) where women were entering “non-traditional” jobs and received intense bullying, hazing and disrespect from a few men. The other, observing but not interceding, men were often horrified to learn that they were tarred with the same brush– that the women believed that they were fully in support of the ugly behavior. Once that conversation was opened up, the rules of engagement rapidly changed. The observers now stood to be personally blamed for what they allowed to go down.