To study psychological trauma is to come face to face both with human vulnerability in the natural world and with the capacity for evil in human nature. To study psychological trauma means bearing witness to horrible events. When the events are natural disasters or “acts of God,” those who bear witness sympathize readily with the victim.
But when the traumatic events are of human design, those who bear witness are caught in the conflict between victim and perpetrator. It is morally impossible to remain neutral in this conflict. The bystander is forced to take sides. It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering.
Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Herman
It seems that the natural desire of many is to not take sides and be neutral, however if someone is unwilling to condemn abusive behavior, they can’t really share the burden of pain with the victim because the message given is, “If the perpetrator isn’t doing anything wrong, then it is all the victim’s fault” and they then by default take the side of the perpetrator, even if they claim they are staying neutral.