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Witness- Bystanders – Upstanders

By December 15, 2022Blogs, PoSHViews: 443

In a lot of the Sexual harassment cases that I have handled, witnesses play a crucial role. Some witnesses open up and some don’t. Some need a lot of cajoling to speak and assurance of confidentiality.

Types of Witness that I have experienced:

  • Fearless Witness – telling the truth and taking the side of justice.
  • Hostile Witness – Unwilling to tell the truth. trying to protect the oppressor and save their own job.
  • Aloof Witness – I don’t care as long as I am safe. I will not take sides.

This is the quote that comes to my mind when I think about the responsibilities we all have as Witness/bystanders.👥

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

— Archbishop Desmond Tutu

As an adult, Speak up even if the victim is a stranger. Your silence empowers the oppressor. It deepens the roots of Toxic work culture.

3 simple ways, Bystanders can support the victim:

  1. Direct – Directly raise your voice and ask the oppressor to stop.
  2. Distract – Distract by asking for directions or asking if you can use their phone for a call.
  3. Delegate – Delegate to someone in authority to stop the incident.

Safety is a roof that can stand only if we agree to become pillars.🤝

Here is a lovely video from the UN, to suggest simple ways that witnesses can support.


Have you witnessed harassment? How did you react? Please leave a comment below or write to For more blogs and articles, visit our official website. Contact us for workshops and queries related to POSH, EAP (Employee Assistance Program,) and Diversity and Inclusion.


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