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 later


Why were her pleas met with such apathy ?




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