When Do We Choose to Interfere?

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About Lu Fong

Lu Fong was a staff writer and blog editor for the Good Men Project in its formative years. As the requisite woman on staff, her hobbies included cleaning, cooking, knitting, fainting, and childbearing. Follow her on Twitter @lufong.


  1. Cookie Monster says:

    I promise I will from now on.

  2. I have, and will, continue to interfere. I have stopped on the road in strange neighbors, in strange cities, because I thought someone was being harassed or in danger. I have banged on doors, walls, and ceilings, I have honked horns, and sometimes all it takes is for you to stare. I will pull out my phone and take pictures, or pretend (or for real) call 911. I was a victim of bullies in the past, and I will do what I can to prevent others from being so.

  3. I have concerns about this study. Please bear with me: It reminds me of one done with pet dogs, testing their responses to their owner’s cries for help. The dogs did not respond when the owner pretended to be in trouble.

    The thing is, dogs can tell when you’re playing. It doesn’t matter how good an actor you are, it’s still pretend and a dog will know. They will know on an instinctive level.

    So, this study played the sounds of a domestic dispute. Was it a recording of a genuine fight? Was the sound recording made at all frequencies, and played at all frequencies, or only the ones that humans can normally here? If it was canned, on some level a human will recognize that the sound is coming from speakers and not from real events. If it was acted out, then on some animal, instinctive level, could the neighbors have understood that maybe this threat was not real?

  4. I don’t know. Why don’t you interfere?


    Perhaps because to you, this kind of stuff doesn’t exist.
    In any case, unless it escalates to hits, I stay out of it.
    Why? Would you like to lose your job, possibly your family due to a shouting/shoving match?

    For the minor stuff we need minor interventions. Right now the reason alot of people don’t report is that if you report it the police and /or child protective services treat it so seriously that its like detonating a nuclear bomb in your relationship.

    So yeah, count on me to call the cops if there’s blows or other obvious violence. Otherwise count on me to stay out of it. I make no apologies.

  5. One thing people in general should understand, is that police receive special training on intervening when it comes to domestic violence because they are the most dangerous call police departments get. Not only is stepping in potentially dangerous to the person who chooses to intervene, it could also be dangerous for the victim. Abusers blame and punish the victim when she seeks help or when it’s perceived by the abuser that she is ‘over-reacting’ to his abuse – classic minimization. The beating she is getting at the time may not compare to the one that comes later.

    This isn’t to say we should never intervene, nor am I saying that our culture isn’t apathetic when it comes to domestic abuse, but intervening should be done without being confrontational during a dangerous episode. Creating a diversion is a great technique while calling the police, and sticking around to be a witness helps evidence-based prosecution so the victim doesn’t have to appear to the abuser as the one who is ‘getting him in trouble.’ He’ll likely blame her either way, but it always helps to have others come forward.

    Marianne Ingrid Moner
    Domestic Violence Specialist

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