Readers have praised broadcaster Kerre McIvor for her candid confession and stand against bullying after she revealed she drove past a child being slapped in broad daylight.

Readers have responded generously to yesterday's frank revelation in an open letter by the broadcaster who witnessed a schoolboy being bullied on an Auckland road last week but did not stop and intervene.

The Herald on Sunday columnist said she yelled out to the boys striking the victim on the head from her car but was swept up in traffic and not able to do more.

Wracked with guilt and regret, McIvor apologised to the young boy saying she made the wrong decision by not stopping and felt she had failed him.

Advertisement

Many sympathetic readers said they understood her feelings of helplessness and decision to carry on in the traffic rather than create a major disruption. A few criticised her for not going to the traumatised child's rescue.

Their stories reveal what happened was not an isolated incident with many re-telling their personal encounters when confronted with similar situations.

And they're hoping shining a spotlight on the bullying issue will in some way create a sea change and address a problem all too common in society.

Karen Symons described an incident a few years ago where she witnessed an attack
as she drove through an eastern bays suburb and didn't think twice about stepping in.

"My sister and drove to Nosh in Glen Innes a few years ago when we witnessed a man punch a woman, on the side of the road. I screeched to a halt, without thinking about possible consequences, jumped out the car and yelled at the man to stop hitting the woman. I was so angry I could have ripped into him myself? I think he was more shocked at this white woman, with a very strange accent, than anything else. He immediately walked off and we took the woman to her aunty's house not to far away.

"I must admit that I went into a bit of a shock afterwards, but felt great about intervening and protecting another human being."

The Auckland woman said it was important not to turn a blind eye to injustice and stand up and protect those who weren't able to protect themselves - particularly children.

Ross Beaven said he was touched by McIvor's article revealing his 24-year-old son had been the victim of bullying throughout his school years and in community groups.

Advertisement

"Unbeknown to me, he was having a hard time at school. No physical bullying but the old peer group pressure and the desperate need to fit in and be accepted.

"The mental bullying wasn't obvious at the time, but it has obviously affected him deeply and there are scars that will take years to mend," said the heartbroken dad.

His very personal situation meant if he ever saw an ounce of bullying he would have no hesitation in stepping in.

Others like Pam Freeman admitted they were likely to take the same course of action as McIvor.

"I am ashamed to admit I would likely have done the same and then rationalised my decision through self talk."

"I have to admit that given the same circumstances and being a similar passionate person to Kerre I would have done the same or have created further traffic havoc," wrote Lynn Gray.

But some respondents weren't so generous appalled McIvor didn't step in.

Said one calling out her inaction: "Sorry but she did nothing, a lot of excuses and what should have been done, but sorry, no action taken."

Despite the decision to not act Gray said this presented a fantastic opportunity to spread ideas that most decent people did not accept this behaviour and that as a society we did not need to put up with it.

"We all need to make a stand, start off with being responsible for ourselves, accept the consequences of not doing so and stop expecting all others to make all the changes for the problems we see in our lives and society. Change starts with ourselves, people learn better by example, so take up the opportunity to be the person you want others to be," she wrote.