The Bystander Effect: The Case of Kitty Genovese
No Safety In Numbers
During the early morning hours of March 13, 1964, twenty-eight year old Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was repeatedly stabbed to death before almost forty eyewitnesses. While such a brutal murder is naturally horrific, the reaction of the surrounding populace, who heard Kitty’s screams of fear and watched the brutal attack, was perhaps more terrifying, for not a single person sought to help the young woman.
This social phenomenon, known as “bystander effect”, refers to the inability of persons in larger groups to effectively take action when near a distressed being. Simply, the presence of a crowd convinces the individual that someone else will be the one to intervene. It is, more or less, the ” diffusion of responsibility”.
As incredible as this literal illustration may be, it is even more enthralling to watch this type of group apathy as it happens, hence, the inclusion of a variety of videos.