|Kitty Genovese. Image credit: Wikipedia|
The case has been written and talked about many, many times over the years. Legend has it that 38 people stood by and watched, doing nothing. There are a couple of misconceptions about that.
One...nobody knows where the number "38" came from. Few actually saw the crime and many of the earwitnesses weren't sure what they were hearing. Many thought it was a domestic dispute and back then, people lived by this philosophy:
Today, everyone has an opinion on your life and isn't afraid to tell you how to live it. Back then, a man could be beating his wife in broad daylight and people would walk on by...
|Daily Mirror clip (allegedly) from the 50s.|
|Kitty Genovese. Image credit: Joe Corrado|
Another reason for the apathy of those who saw and heard the murder was something called The Bystander Effect, also known as Genovese Syndrome. The more people who are present when a person is in peril, the less chance that person has of being helped.
Often the bystanders are vindicated in Kitty Genovese's murder as though they held the knife. History has forgotten the actual murderer, this guy:
|Winston Moseley. Photo credit: Wikipedia|
There was one other guy--Karl Ross--who has been singled out as a bystander who should have acted. He opened his door and watched the crime, closing it and doing absolutely nothing until it was too late. Could he have saved Kitty, if only he'd acted sooner?
|Kitty Genovese. Image credit: NYPost via AP|
But one woman is left out of the stories about the crime. Sophie Farrar, a neighbor who was only four feet eleven inches tall, heard that there was a murder in progress and ran straight to it. She reportedly ordered Karl to call the police and stayed with Kitty until help arrived.
|Kitty Genovese. Image credit: All Day via CBS News|