Hello Dear Readers,
I hope this finds you well. It’s been a bit quiet on this front and here’s why.
Recently I was confronted with a very serious ethical matter necessitating that I take action. This action has cost me thousands of dollars in legal fees, loss of what I thought were authentic colleagues , etc.
What has struck me is people’s reactions and comments to the situation. Those reactions/comments have included everything from:
- Just ignore it
- What are you trying to get out of it
- Keep me out of it
- Not your/my problem
- Oh well
- I’m staying for the check
- Pretend it never happened
- Just sue , get paid a bunch of money, shut up about it and move on.
As those of you with a conscience might imagine, I’ve been rather shocked by the above reactions. Like you, I’m not wired that way.
Curious as to the above cowardice, I did a little digging and uncovered a rather disturbing phenomena called,
“THE BYSTANDER EFFECT”
The Bystander Effect is explained well here by Dr. Lenhert :
In social psychology there is a concept called the Bystander Effect, in which the likelihood of someone responding to a situation decreases as the number of people witnessing the situation increases.
This diffusion of responsibility that happens when more than one person witnesses the same injustice on the one hand is somewhat understandable (people seem to think someone else will deal with the problem, or if others are not reacting they shouldn’t either) but at the same time baffling and disturbing. It seems counterintuitive to think the more people are available to help another human being when they need it, the less likely that person is to actually be helped.
Rather disturbing right? But think about it. We see this bystander effect often in sexual harassment cases, college sexual assault investigations, politics and countless other situations.
How sad it is that others avoid personal responsibility and look to others to right a wrong. Where is the sense of personal and societal responsibility? How does one live with oneself? Is a title/paycheck really worth one’s integrity or reputation?
So inspired in large part by my lunch with Gretchen Carlson (formerly of Fox News), I’ve decided to do something brave, true and hard. It’s not popular and several others (with the exception of one) have chosen to turn the other way and predictably, shoot the messenger. I’m actually quite sad for them as I don’t believe this will end well for any of them.
But you know what? I am “putting my right shoes on” and pressing on. I’m not going to be bullied out of doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is more important than money to me. I’ve chosen not to stand by and let others be duped, careers and reputations be destroyed or worse. I will speak the truth. My silence can’t be bought. (Surprising coming out of a lawyer -eh?) Stay tuned.
As I watch the marches and the protests across our great nation, I am encouraged that others are getting “their right shoes on” and are no longer willing to be bystanders either.
Will you stand up for what is right and true in your profession and/or life or will you be a “bystander” too? I’d love to hear your thoughts.