Bystander Apathy-On 13th March
1964, a young woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed in New York. There is
unfortunately, nothing remarkable about this, except in this instance there
turned out to be 38 people who watched what happened and did nothing.
The woman was returning
from work as the manageress of a bar at around 3 a.m. She parked her car and as
she got out she noticed a man in the parking lot. She headed along the street
towards a police telephone box. The man caught her and she screamed ‘Oh my
god, he stabbed me! Please help me !’
Many lights came on in
nearby apartments. One person shouted from his window ‘Let that girl alone’.
The attacker walked away,
but no one appeared so, as she struggled towards her home, he attacked again.
She screamed ‘I’m dying’. Again lights went on and the man got into his
car and drove away.
The woman once more
staggered to her feet and got as far as a doorway near her apartment. The
attacker returned a final time and stabbed her to death.
The first and only call
the police received was at 3.50 a.m. and they arrived at the scene 2 minutes
Why were her pleas met
with such apathy ?
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