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Wesley House gives tips on how to stop the violence, overcome bystander effect

The Wesley House Community Center is urging residents to fight against violence by overcoming the bystander effect.

“That is when a group of people see something that’s happening and everybody thinks somebody else will do it so nobody does it,” said Deana Weems, a therapist at the center.

Yesterday, the center hosted a Green Dot Workshop that focused on violence prevention.

“We looked at it as a picture of red dots. Red dots are bad things going on in the community. We want to intervene and be a positive force, so we use the color green. We want to put green dots all over and replace the red dots with the green dots, meaning positive things,” said Alesha Stennis, another therapist at the center.

Participants learned that they could overcome the bystander effect by directly interfering when a violent situation arises.

“That would be going up to that victim and saying, ‘Hey, is everything ok? Are you ready to go home?” said Sara Smith, a Care Lodge employee who presented at the workshop.

They can also cause a distraction.

“You’re honking a horn. You’re driving by and making a commotion, or maybe you’re in the grocery store and you accidently knock something over,” said Smith.

Or, they can delegate authority.

“Like calling law enforcement, calling a security guard, or maybe you’re at the grocery store and contact the manager,” said Smith.

The Wesley House Community Center said it plans to host another green dot workshop in the future.


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