In Cutting Edge: Would You Save a Stranger? last night it was revealed somewhat shockingly that one in three of us wouldn’t.
Of the stories recounted as examples of people stepping in to help a stranger and those who weren’t helped by anyone, one of the most shocking for me was Jasmine’s story. She and a friend had been out to buy the ingredients to make fruit smoothies but on their return bus journey, a gang of girls demanding money surrounded Jasmine and her friend and proceeded to beat them violently.
And despite it being a bus crowded with adults, nobody even attempted to help these two girls who’d done nothing wrong and were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and became victims of the mindless thuggery which took the Great out of Britain long since. One woman on the bus not only didn’t help these poor girls, she told them to be quiet!
Jasmine was stamped on, her head used as a football and verbally abused too so it’s little wonder then that when she’s finished her GCSEs, she wants to move to Canada so she can be sure the low-life scum that attacked her won’t do so again.
There were however tales of people who did intervene to help a stranger, and one of them ended up dead for doing so; a young man called Liam bravely tried to intervene to stop some kids being bullied and was stabbed to death by the attackers. Liam’s mother was interviewed and is justifiably very proud of her hero son.
Speaking of Liam’s defense of the children being bullied, she said she knows Liam couldn’t have just walked away. “I understand that far more than I understand ‘don’t get involved'” she said.
An intervention that had a happy ending was when Howard undoubtedly saved a stranger’s life. Peter was being kicked in the head by thugs on a street in London and Howard bravely fought them off and in last night’s show, Howard and Peter movingly met for the first time since the incident, giving Peter a chance to thank the man who almost certainly saved his life.
It was overall a shocking and depressing programme full of equally shocking and depressing statistics; there are over 700,000 attacks on people by strangers every year in this country and for two thirds of those being attacked, they won’t get any help from anyone. That’s frightening.
The CCTV footage that was inter-cut with eye witness testimony made gut wrenching watching and the level of sheer violence that’s inflicted on people for mostly no good reason was sickening.
And of course, throughout this thought provoking programme, I was asking myself, “Which am I? The one in three that would or the two out of three who wouldn’t?”
Obviously I’d like to think that I’d be the one in three who’d help but the worrying thing is, you can’t really truly know until you’re in the situation.
What I do know however is that statistically, peer reaction tends to affect others so if just one of two people had tried to help Jasmine and her friend on that bus, the odds are more would’ve followed suit, but as nobody stepped in, nobody else did either.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this; would you – or have you – intervened to help a stranger or have you been in a situation where you could’ve helped someone and didn’t? Let us know.