Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Harassment: Intervene or Record?

So a few weeks ago I finally got to play through Life is Strange. Its about a teenage girl going to an art school to pursue a career in photography who discovers she has the ability to turn back time. Long story short chaos ensues. With that in mind I will try not to spoil the story of the game but if you don't want to hear specifics then I recommend assuming I will spoil and act accordingly.

One of the big points about this game is that there are several situations where you will be forced to make a major choice that will have some sort of influence on future circumstances. Early on in the game there is one choice that particularly caught my attention. I'll give some basic detail information to set up the scene.

While heading out to meet someone you come around a corner and witness Kate, a fellow student, being harassed by David, the head of campus security. David is being a bit forceful. Not grabbing Kate but getting in her face and using an intimidating voice. She is visibly scared and is backing away. Upon encountering this you are given 2 choices.

Do you interfere and stop David from harassing Kate or do you take a picture of him harassing her?

My initial reaction was to take the photo. Get evidence of him harassing a student so I could turn it in to the principle to hopefully get him fired rather than stopping one incident of bullying just to have it happen again later.

And then Kate sees me and says, "Hope you enjoyed the show. Thanks for nothing.". She is quite disgusted and very upset by the fact that you saw what was happening and didn't take direct action. 

To that I thought was, "I should have been more direct. By standing by even with the intent of collecting evidence, I left her in possible danger.". Utilizing the chief mechanic of the game, rewinding time, I go back and replay the situation and choose to help.

This time while David is messing with Kate I come from around the corner and call him on his harassment. He leaves but lets you know that you the player are now on his radar. Kate thanks you for helping her and tells you it was nice to see him on the defensive for once. Sounds good right? You come to her rescue and stopped the bully.

Until later on when you have a chance to accuse David of harassing students to the principle and he asks for evidence.....

Now to be clear I'm not saying that it was wrong to not get the picture but that was just a moment that clicked for me that if I had taken the photo I could have had a long term solution to stopping David instead of just a one time assist.

I wonder if that is what goes through the heads of people who stop and record rather than intervening in a situation where someone needs help.

Do they think that they are doing a greater good by recording the event rather than directly getting involved?

Maybe they realize they are too scared to intervene but want to do something to help.

It's also possible that they are so plugged into the digital age that their first response to trouble is to be the first to post it online.

There are a lot of things to consider and as a result a lot of different choices to be made.

What would do? Would you intervene? Would you record?

Think about it.