Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Don't be afraid.

Living in a crowded city, you're bound to hear all kinds of noises at night. Traffic. Cats fighting. Drunken serenades. I myself have suspicions of the world's largest copier/washing machine/wave-making bed/ iron lung that resides in the apartment above me and makes a strange yet monotonous sound all night long. These things we put up with because we live in a city of millions.

However, there are some things we should not put up with.

Tonight I heard some men yelling outside my bathroom window, which faces an alley. Normally I wouldn't think much of it, but after about 15 minutes it was more than noticable, and I realized that other neighbors were stepping outside to tell the two men to pipe down. As I tried to peer through the incredibly tall window, a third voice came on the scene-- a woman's-- and that's when things started to get really ugly. I couldn't understand everything, but she was yelling "Stop it! Stop it! Don't do that!" in Korean, and the men's voices only seemed to be escalating.

I was a little more than disturbed, and a little more than a LOT bothered by the fact that I felt powerless to call for help.

I was encouraged by another rad traveler (whom I happened to be talking to at the time) to call the police anyway. 112 is the number for the Ulsan Police, and although there weren't any people on staff at the time for English, we made it work. By the time the police got to the area, the scene had calmed down (which homefully is evidence that the fight also ended, but I'm not sure).

My main point, to whoever is involved or wherever you are, is to not be afraid to call. Even though the officer only knew how to say "policeman" to me, we worked with what we could and I was really impressed to see them respond so well, and so fast (and so patiently as I stumbled over myself in broken Korean).

You can do this, too. And although we know it's the 'right' thing to do, it's often overlooked at how it's not the 'easy' thing to do. When it comes down to it, no matter our reasoning for adhering to the Bystander's Effect, the bottom line is this: if you don't do it, who will?
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