Calling people out (ssp?)

How good are you at this? How do you go about it? I’m not overly confrontational and it usually leads to more trouble than it’s worth, but the last couple of weeks I’ve seen quite a few instances of people being absolutely awful/abusive to their children, screaming in their faces and hitting them etc, and I really want to do something about it, but I don’t know how or what I would do?

I work in children’s services, so I think maybe I’m more hypersensitive to stuff like this.

Obviously this isn’t just limited to this, and extends to public racism, sexist, harassment etc. I watched someone follow a girl down the street right up in her face trying to get her to talk to him and did nothing about it last night - he’d peeled off from a bigger group of lads so assumed if I tried to stop it I’d get the shit kicked out of me?

Dunno, just feel a bit helpless about it.

Last time I called someone out for being racist the guy grabbed me by the throat and started a fight, I am not very good at it

I called out someone on the overground last year who was spouting antisemitic nonsense. Only realised afterwards the danger I’d possibly put myself in afterwards but no one else was doing a thing and I felt it was wrong.


sometimes the spirit of righteousness flows through me and I will give people a ton of shit but often I am a coward. Don’t know what changes in me from one day to the next it’s weird

With the kids thing rather than call them out as such I’d ask them if they needed any help with anything holding a a bag, distracting the child etc. That might diffuse things.

As a woman who’s been hassled I’d definitely appreciate someone speaking up in regards to creeps, but I know its so hard to do. I don’t give a shit these days and have put myself between women and creeps quite a bit over the last few years… sitting besides them on the bus or something rather than confronting anyone. Blocking situations can be more effective/safer for everyone.


Think working in/running pubs for years has made me better at this than I would ordinarily be, especially with regards to people hassling women or being aggressive to others just because I had to step in and do it relatively often, and as a responsible manager or whatever, it’s kind of your duty if it’s happening on the premises, and those ‘skills’ transfer to general life I guess.

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That’s a great idea. Will try and remember it when I’m out and about :+1:

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Yeah this is true. We used to have a thing where our barmaids would know to recognise if someone was being a creep and rush up to the woman as if seeing a friend and usher them away whilst talking.


I read about somebody getting stabbed to death in front of his family for asking if someone else’s child was ok.

Not for me, clive

Anyway feel like you’d be better off discreetly recording something like that and passing it on to social services.

It depends on the situation, and like @no-class says if something goes wrong then it can go very wrong, but I sometimes try to step in if I see somebody looking like they’re receiving abuse/etc. Usually just ask a polite question of the person being a dickhead… try to diffuse rather than confront.

Usually find the hardest part is staying calm myself, but as long as I can manage that I feel okay to help out. Quite often, this sort of behaviour relies on the passivity of passing strangers, so saying anything at all can pretty quickly change the dynamic.

I’m pretty good at passing as an American, so I get a lot of people saying xenophobic shit to me (but not about me, I’m one of the good ones*). I do call people out on it, pointing out that I’m a foreigner.

Didn’t have the balls to say, “Please don’t use me to justify your racism” to my boss when I should have though.

*I’m white.

I understand your concern here. in these cases the best thing to do is ignore the aggressor and just talk to the person nicely and friendly, and keep them company and walk with them. Ask them how they are, how their day is, small talk. Talk to them like you know them a bit, like a friend. Sounds weird but is much more effective and less likely to cause escalation.

I think I am what’s technically known as a gobby bastard and basically shoot comments at most people I meet
I can confirm it is not safe work

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Sadly I’m much more likely to overcome my own fear and speak up when I’m half cut. Which isn’t the best recipe for defusing the situation.