The Bystander Effect in Brooklyn

The Bystander Effect in Brooklyn
Sakhi volunteer Shahana Hanif leads response to rape 

Last week, we were at Brooklyn College conducting training on the bystander effect to help students learn how to activate themselves, and take thoughtful and safe action in the face of violence and abuse in their lives and communities.

This event was led by our wonderful community member and volunteer, Shahana Hanif, a proactive student at Brooklyn College.

Following a rape that happened on her campus, Shahana felt disheartened and frustrated by the poor response by school officials. So, Shahana took matters into her own hands, and worked with us at Sakhi to increase awareness about violence against women in her campus community, and offer students concrete ideas about how they can take action.


A bystander is a person who is a witness to an emergency or incident. The bystander effect is a socio-psychological phenomenon that reflects our tendency to not take action during an incident or emergency.


Interestingly, it highlights that the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one person will step in and help. Ambiguity, safety concerns and the diffusion of responsibility are some variables that explain why the bystander effect occurs.


To learn more about how you can take action in your life, or organize a bystander training, please contact us.