Pace e Bene

  • Sign Up for Email Updates


    Pace e Bene on FacebookPace e Bene on Facebook

5 Ways You Can Interrupt Harassment and Intimidation

Posted by Ryan Hall
12.02.16

With concerns about hate crimes, harassment, and intimidation on the rise, many people have been asking for resources about what to do if you see harassment or intimidation occurring. These suggestions come from Meta Peace Team and are used during street actions as a handout.

Some things you can do if you witness someone being harassed or intimidated . . .

1) Move close to the person being harassed, introduce yourself, and begin a discussion – this will create a zone of safety. Continue the conversation until the harasser leaves. Stay with your new friend or offer to provide accompaniment to the point that the person feels safe.

2) Rally others in the vicinity to form a protective circle around the person being harassed, or encourage others in the area to join you in loudly shouting, “Stop it now.”

3) Interrupt the behavior by asking the aggressor a question to throw him/her off balance (“Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to . . .” or “Hey, didn’t we go to high school together?” . . .) Try to redirect the person’s energy by creatively engaging the person. Don’t debate. Look for common ground or an entry point into a conversation that takes the focus off the person being harassed. The point is to stop the person’s behavior, not win a political argument.

4) If you cannot directly intervene, document what you are witnessing. Observe details. Use your phone to take pictures or videotape. Discern whether or not it is a good strategy to let it be known that you are documenting. Sometimes this works as a deterrent; sometimes it escalates situations.

5) Do not take away people’s agency to defend themselves. Sometimes the best approach is to remain physically close, using body language to convey solidarity and support, especially if the person being harassed is verbally engaged with the harasser. Jumping into action too quickly can have the effect of disempowering others and actually escalating the situation.

Meta Peace Team is a group of individuals creating a nonviolent alternative to militarism through empowered peacemaking. MPT understands that the primary violence in our world is structural and embedded in systems of oppression and domination. MPT seeks a just world grounded in nonviolence and respect for the sacred interconnectedness of all life. MPT trains individuals in nonviolence and places violence reduction peace teams (when invited) in war zones and places of conflict where there is a likelihood of violence. MPT has (and is recruiting for) teams in Palestine as well as domestic teams within the U.S. Learn more!   See www.metapeaceteam.org for more information.

Pace e Bene/Campaign Nonviolence encourages everyone to explore the work of Meta Peace Team and consider building a peace team in your area. This builds the skills and knowledge of your community and serves the broad goals of building a culture of peace and active nonviolence. One way to embark on this idea is to book a MPT training in your community. Visit MPT’s website to connect with them or email Ryan Hall at info@paceebene.org

Recent Posts

Spotlight Stories arrow

Read the Notes from the Latest Nonviolent Cities Project Conference Call!

by Erin Bechtol // Campaign Nonviolence

On November 7th we held a conference call for the Nonviolent Cities Project. We discussed the progress cities around the country are making and the steps budding organizers can take to build momentum. If you missed the call, you can … read more

Read More

CNV Updates from Salt Lake City, UT

by Erin Bechtol // Campaign Nonviolence

THE TRICK OR TREAT REPORT by Catherine Kreuter  // A Campaign Nonviolence Action Organizer   As October ended and November began, members of the Utah Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons had some trick or treat issues to reflect on. The … read more

Read More

The Catholic Church Moves Towards Nonviolence? Conference Recap

by Erin Bechtol // Pace e Bene

On October 6 and 7, the University of San Diego’s Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture hosted a conference entitled, “The Catholic Church Moves Towards Nonviolence? Just Peace/Just War in Dialogue.”  This event was a follow-up to … read more

Read More
Image 01 Image 02