Such “bystanding” attacks the heart of manhood, or at least what I grew up in the 1940s and 1950s thinking manhood entailed: taking responsibility for protecting those, women in particular, who couldn’t protect themselves from bullies.
I understand now that none of this is so simple. Not all bullies cut and run when challenged and it’s increasingly obvious that women are anything but the “weaker sex”, nor do they necessarily want to be protected by men, especially if that protection represents just another example of male chauvinism. The male savior (still relentlessly promoted in pop books and films) is generally just using women as props in his rivalry with other men – a subtler version of what the sexual bullies are doing.
The real job, the hard job, for all of us male bystanders, isn’t to rescue women, but to rescue other men from their own worst behavior and so prevent abuse in the first place, be it by a heroic and possibly dangerous personal intervention or the more difficult political mission of, say, passing an Equal Rights Amendment.