“We are a society that is morally courageous. We are people who help people who are in danger.” (MCCS TAB Program Participant)
Training Active Bystanders (TAB) is a workshop that was developed after a horrific event. Two kids started fighting in a school yard, no one broke up the fight, and as a result one of the kids died. After the incident, the community asked themselves, “Why didn’t anyone intervene?” Quabbin Mediation began research on active bystandership and developed TAB. The training looks at what inhibits us from getting involved when we witness harm, what helps us get involved, and how we can increase our moral courage to stop harmful actions.
MCC staff across Canada have become trainers in TAB and have been delivering this training within our communities. In Saskatchewan we began to offer TAB workshops in the fall of 2020. Two themes have emerged as central teachings within this training. First, that there are many reasons that discourage us becoming active bystanders. TAB calls these inhibitors. We do not need to feel shame about these, but we do need to recognize them. Our participants said,
“I think the inhibitors were an especially important and practical aspect of the training. I will continue to think back to those in order to challenge them within myself when I am in a bystander situation.”
“I learned from this training how to recognize and name inhibitors to action and ways to lessen or overcome them.”
The second theme that emerged was the recognition that we are not alone. We do not have to be the one person to stop harmful actions. We can, and often should, invite other people to join us in these actions. The participants noted,
“The main lesson learned is to be aware, scan the area for partners that are also aware, and engage with a developed response.”
“I received insights and practical tools to support me when I witness any form of abuse. The strongest message for me was the importance of including other witnesses, of making eye contact or other ways of assessing who is near, who might have my back if I engage in action.”
MCC envisions communities worldwide in right relationship with God, one another and creation. Through Training Active Bystanders, we hope to offer our communities tools to repair harm and heal relationships with one another.
For more information contact Heather Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org.