There's been an increase in hate crimes and bias attacks around the country following the election. Last week, Yasmin Seweidi, a young Muslim woman in New York City, was verbally attacked by three men on the subway and no bystanders came to her defense. So what do you do if you witness such an attack? WNYC put together some helpful tips.
Although it's tempting to want to teach the attackers a lesson, experts say that it's most important to diffuse the situation. You can do this by showing the victim that you're on their side. A simple, "Hey, how can I help you?" works.
If you do engage with the attackers, consider tactics like persuasion or sense of humor over aggression. Self-defense instructor Elena Waldman gave the example of how she physically inserted herself between a man who was being aggressive to de-escalate the issue. "And then he pushed up against me, and I turned around like 'What's goin' on, man? We're cool, right? We're cool. Because you're a gentleman, I'm a gentleman.' Because it left a place for his ego to go."
It's totally normal to worry about your own safety when intervening. Check out local bystander workshops for more helpful tips.