#JUSTICEFORJAZZY: Words for Bystanders


Imagine this scenario: You move into your dorm your freshman year of college. You are full of life, excited to make new friends, and ready to start your college experience. Then, you find out your roommate isn’t your biggest fan. No big deal, right? Until you discover she is rubbing used tampons on your backpack, putting old oyster dip in your lotions, and putting your toothbrush where “the sun doesn’t shine.” What do you do?

This was the situation Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe found herself in at the University of Hartford this year. Rowe discovered her roommate, Brianna Rae Brochu, bragged in an Instagram video that she was doing all these things.

There are obvious consequences for Brochu because of her actions, and for the University of Hartford for its lack of action. Brochu has been expelled since the events became public. There are calls for her to be brought to court for bullying and endangering Rowe’s health. The university is also getting attention on social media, demanding that this situation be handled efficiently, and quickly, for Rowe.

There is a party going unnoticed for their participation in this awful ordeal.

Brochu’s Instagram account had at least 80 followers at the time of her posts. That is 80 people who saw these posts for months, and didn’t reprimand Brochu for her actions. 80 people knew that there was a girl on campus suffering in silence while they either gave the post a like, or scrolled past it. 80 people did not feel obligated to take action in the face of such bullying. There has been a shift in bullying lately, where both bullies and bystanders are being held accountable for a victim’s pain. Silence has always only helped the oppressor. Those 80 people held Rowe’s life in their hands, and chose to do nothing about it.

Times like these remind me that we must all be courageous when we see something that goes against our morals. We cannot allow people to be harmed simply because it does not affect us directly. As peers and human beings, sitting in silence cannot be an option.