Masked men attack woman on a train in Auckland

Police are appealing to other passengers onboard the Western line train to share their footage of the assault with police. Image:

“If you see something, say something.”

This phrase has been plastered all over subways, busses, airports, and other public places around the world since September 11, 2001. We see it so often, we have become numb to it. Because we see things everyday that are outrageous, intolerable, and demanding action, it has become the norm, and most people do nothing.

Oh, yeah, we do something—we get out our phones. Not to make a phone call to the police or security or emergency services, but to record. We have become a society of documentarians rather than humanitarians. It fulfills the social requirement to do something, to post a video on YouTube rather than intervene in a racist tirade, a sexual or physical attack, or worse.

This does not count as doing anything. Making someone Internet famous for being assaulted is not cool, it is cowardly. You are an accessory. If you are present when violence is being perpetrated against anyone, especially a marginalised person, the first thing you should do is respond. Get involved, get help, alert authorities. Recording is the last resort.

-Ashley E Remer
Girl News International


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