How do the majority of people react to a situation when someone is being bullied or hurt nearby? According to social psychologists Bibb Latané and John Darley, “the Bystander Effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.” This semester, the Women & Politics class at Emory & Henry College working with students and community members on the steps to eliminate bullying by offering Bystander Training.
Recently, a group of Emory & Henry students traveled to the YWCA in Bristol, TN to offer Bystander Training to the TechGYRLS. TechGYRLS is a unique, free after-school program for girls developed by the YWCA USA in 1997. This program was implemented to address the significant gender gap in girls’ development of interest and skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). To find out more, visit their website at http://www.ywcabristol.org/tech_gyrls2.htm. About 25 girls, ages 9 to 14, attended Bystander Training and learned the Dr. Michele Borba’s phrase B.U.S.T.E.R. to help defend against bullying in their schools and on social media.
B- Befriend the Victim
U- Use a Distraction
S- Stand Up and Speak Out
T- Tell or Text for Help (an adult)
E- Exit the Situation
R- Find a Remedy or Give a Reason
The girls played games to encourage the sharing of their own experiences with bullying and how to react using the techniques learned from the B.U.S.T.E.R. method. By the end of the training, they were able to recognize the signs of bullying and apply their newfound techniques to defuse a situation.
The main goal for this Bystander Training session was to have the girls interact with one another and with students from Emory & Henry to understand the steps needed directly or indirectly to intervene with bullying. TechGYRLS were talkative, bright, and full of energy! It was fantastic to have Emory & Henry students interact with local communities surrounding the campus, especially with the YWCA who focuses on eliminating racism and empowering women. Hopefully this experience will become a tradition and for years to come Emory & Henry can create an inclusive community and change the world one student at a time.
The Women & Politics class would like to thank Essence Smith, Orion Rummler, and Laken Brooks for their foundational work on this project.
By: Lexi DeMers '20
Photos provided by YWCA Bristol TechGYRLS.