Moral courage: why looking the other way is the wrong option

moral courage: why looking the other way is the wrong option

Saturday night. Shortly after 3 o’clock. On the way through the city center of kronach, a group of manners catches the eye, there is a loud discussion, and the tone becomes increasingly aggressive. They start pushing each other. The situation threatens to escalate. What to do?

"The worst solution? To simply turn away and move on", gerhard anders, press spokesman for the kronach police, and his colleague matthias stocker agree. The situation described is fictitious, but not too far-fetched. Only recently, a case of attempted manslaughter was heard in the coburg district court. The victim was a 51-year-old man who intervened in a similar situation on kronach’s marienplatz – but whose civil courage became his downfall.

Always a matter of discretion

But how do you deal with situations where turning away and walking on is the worst course of action?? It is always a matter of discretion whether one actively intervenes in such a situation, says anders. "Anyone with common sense should assess this and ask themselves: can I be expected to do this?? Or was I just putting myself in danger??" Regardless of the individual case, one thing is always advised: to dial 911 and inform the police. "The best thing to do is to describe the situation as precisely as possible to your colleagues on the phone." In this case, you should keep calm and avoid hectic and watch everything carefully – if you are traveling alone, better from a distance. "If I myself become a victim, I achieve nothing. As an observer, however, I can later support the police with my testimony."

Violence against women: how the women’s shelter offers protection to victims

Change of scene. The dance floor at a party. A young woman is danced on again and again. She is visibly uncomfortable, avoiding her opponent. The man, however, does not let go and grabs her by the hoof, puts his arm around her shoulders. She cannot break away from him.

"The first point of contact is usually the security service", matthias stocker says about this situation. If no one from the security staff is available at the moment, you should ask the bar staff for help. Also in another way, this is a wiser decision than to intervene oneself. "The employees of the security service are trained for such situations. They are usually recognizable as officials – and it has a different effect when they intervene." They could then also directly exercise house rights and ensure that the people leave the event and if necessary notify the police.

Victim protection statement

What you can do yourself? Be available as a witness. "This is also a piece of civil courage and at the same time serves to protect the victims." Because a bystander, who had a neutral view of the situation and can describe it, also speaks for the credibility of the injured party.

Change of scene. Swedenstrabe. An obviously intoxicated group of youths roams through kronach at night and begins to riot, knocking over flower boxes and kicking street signs and parked cars.

The initially unusual-sounding advice of the police officers: twitch the smartphone and photograph the situation from a distance. For those who want to argue with data protection and personal rights, stocker explains: "this is an obvious criminal offense – it’s a matter of weighing interests, taking a photo is legitimate here." Dial the emergency number as well. Here, too, it is important to observe carefully and to help the officials with an exact description and personal description. "For possible searches, it is important to be able to give a rough direction of flight", explains differently. To intervene actively here, he considers little sense. "Here is no acute danger, no life is threatened." Especially when the perpetrators are intoxicated, you never know – so he advises to keep your distance.

Change of scene. In the afternoon at the kronach bus station. A young woman waits with her children. A man begins to insult them – his xenophobic motive cannot be overheard. Because the woman does not react to his words, he becomes more and more aggressive and louder. "In such a situation, you should always try to find people who will stand in solidarity with you", says differently. Here, too, he speaks of a matter of consideration and individual reasonableness. If you don’t trust yourself to stand up alone against the superior, you have to look for partners. The lack of reaction from other observers should not be misjudged either. "Maybe they are thinking the same thing at that moment – and don’t dare to act alone against this man", says differently. "You should explicitly address other people about their non-action", adds stocker. If you still can’t cope with the situation, you should never hesitate to call 911.

Putting yourself in the role of the victim

No matter whether it’s a call to the police, a description of a person or the license plate number of a hit-and-run driver – civil courage starts in small things. "And here lies unfortunately also a general social problem", says stocker. "People don’t want to get involved, they don’t want to have anything to do with the event, it could cause inconvenience." Their advice is different, just put yourself in the situation of the victim. "If you were in the role of the victim, you would be grateful to every witness – you should always keep that in mind."

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