[Trigger warning.]In this new year, may we all resolve to stand up against violence, rather than being complicit in it by saying nothing. If we continue to act like the two men who did nothing to condemn the assumed attempted rape of a woman and never hold abusers or rapists responsible for their actions, is it any wonder that rates of rape and domestic violence continue to rise?
So, Good Morning America has a recurring hidden camera segment called "What would you do?" in which actors stage various scenes and people's reactions are filmed without their knowledge and broadcast so we can all marvel at the
enigmatic complexity of human naturefeel morally superior to reprobates who majorly fail the test and allow people to step in dog[poop] or get ripped off by a conman or fall victim to whatever other scenario the producers have cooked up.
This morning's "What would you do?" positioned a man ("John") and a woman ("Brigitte") at a bar in the late afternoon, pretending to be on a date, with John putting a powder into Brigitte's drink when she went to the bathroom.
First up were two guys, who were sitting just on the other side of Brigitte and had their faces blurred, which wasn't a good sign. When she got up to go to the bathroom, John engaged the two men and they did a little male bonding over Brigitte being hot and "a handful." The two guys watched as John poured the powder into her drink. They said nothing to discourage him.
When Brigitte returned, they said nothing to her—even when she took a drink of the now-contaminated wine.
Then John got up to go to the bathroom. They still said nothing. While he was gone, Brigitte said she started to feel ill. They still said nothing. John suggested they go back to his place and relax in the pool. They still said nothing. She agreed, got up, and left with him.
They said nothing.
Next up was a middle-aged couple, who were sitting just on the other side of John. Their faces weren't blurred, so I felt hopeful. When Brigitte got up to go to the bathroom, and John put the powder in her wine, the woman immediately asked John if he'd just put something in Brigitte's drink. He denied it, but she insisted she saw it. Her husband tried to get her to stop.
Upon Brigitte's return, the woman immediately said to her (paraphrasing), "This is probably inappropriate and he [gestures to husband] thinks I'm crazy, but I'm sure I saw him [gestures to John] put something in your drink while you were gone."
Brigitte confronted John and then left the bar; the woman went after her to make sure she was okay. When they returned, Brigitte told John the date was over while the woman stood beside her and nodded supportively. John yelled at the woman for getting involved and at Brigitte for ditching him and believing the woman, then John eventually left.
At that point, the scenario was revealed to the woman, and she was asked why she decided to help. She burst into tears, and said she did it because she hoped someone would have done the same for her.
The camera panned to Brigitte, who was also crying. The women embraced each other tightly. The reporter said, "Why are you crying? You're an actress!"
Brigitte, the real woman, had had her drink spiked two years earlier—and no one had told her until it was too late.
Word that was never used in this segment: Rape.
For more, see our post on teaching men to hold one another accountable.