Brian Pinero, LoveIsRespect.Org Director: I Defended A Stranger From Spousal Abuse At The Grocery Store

06/26/2013 10:46 am ET | Updated Jun 26, 2013

Violent altercations in public can pose a difficult challenge for bystanders. When to step in? And how? Taking action in these situations is not easy, but it can make a huge difference. Brian Pinero once intervened in a spousal abuse situation, and he shared his story with HuffPost Live.

Pinero was exiting an Austin grocery store when he witnessed an arguing couple. When the man shoved the woman against the wall and started to raise his hand towards her, Pinero stepped in. "I alerted him that clearly I was an officer, and that I was not okay with what was happening," he told host Nancy Redd.

Rather than engaging with the man physically, Pinero chose a different approach. "At that moment I just decided to align myself with the person, and said 'I'm just going to stand here with you, I'm not going to leave. I am going to make this my issue, I'm going to stand with you,'" he explained. "As it moved along, more and more people stood around me, and he began to move back."

After the experience, Pinero became a director of LoveIsRespect.org, a resource for people dealing with domestic abuse. The site offers phone, chat and text messaging services to help victims in domestic abuse situations, and teaches people how to intervene if they witness violent confrontations in public.

Pinero said that his personal story has helped him educate others on the benefits of intervening. "I think it's shaped me in realizing that when you are in those situations where it's power and control, that person who's the victim a lot of times doesn't have the ability to protect themselves and they need someone to step up and stand out."

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