ACTIVITY 17: Perpetrator, Victim, Bystander, Healer


Overview: Participants describe a time when they played different roles regarding human rights.

Time: About 30 minutes, depending on the size of the groups. Don't hurry.

Materials: Paper showing the quadrants.


1. Divide participants into small groups and give each a paper divided into four quadrants with the headings "Perpetrator," "Victim," "Bystander," and "Healer."

2. Ask participants in turn to give an example of a time when they played one of these roles (e.g., a time when they stood by and did nothing, when they violated someone's rights, when their own rights were violated, and when they witnessed someone whose rights were being violated and took action).

3. Debrief with the whole group. Ask volunteers for a few examples. Ask what feelings and new understanding the activity elicited. Emphasize in conclusion that everyone plays all these roles at one time or another. Ask what qualities and understanding a person needs to take action.

Source: Kristi Rudelius-Palmer, University of Minnesota Human Rights Resource Center.