Kitty Genovese

The Fate That Befell Her, And The “Bystander Effect” 

Also known as “Genovese syndrome”, the phenomenon involves passive bystanders looking at a crime being committed in a public arena. 

During the early hours of March 13, 1964, Kitty Genovese, a 28-year-old bartender living in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens, New York, was raped and stabbed near the entrance to her apartment building. 

An article in The New York Times, published two weeks after the murder, claimed that 38 witnesses witnessed the incident but none called the police or aided Genovese during the fatal attack.

The incident prompted inquiries into what became known as the bystander effect, or “Genovese syndrome”.

It stands for a social psychological theory that states that individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim in the presence of other people.   

The theory also claimed that factors like the number of bystanders, ambiguity, group cohesiveness, and diffusion of responsibility reinforce mutual denial in such cases.  

In recent years, several murder and rape cases involving women, like the sexual assault of Jane Doe of Philadelphia and the Richmond High School gang rape, have reinstated the horrific consequences of the bystander effect. 

How The Bystander Effect Works? Click below to know more!

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