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Bystander Apathy - the Phenonenom

In: Social Issues

Submitted By michelle111
Words 1698
Pages 7

Bystander Apathy: Why does it happen and what could help prevent it?
Michelle Jofen
Y.N.R. Institute for Marriage and Family Therapy Studies

What is meant by the term "Bystander effect"?
The term "Bystander effect" refers to a phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress.
Research into this tendency stemmed from a murder case from 1964. On March 13th, 1964, 28 year old Kitty Genovese was raped and stabbed to death in front of her apartment complex by Winston Moseley. The attack lasted over 30 minutes and was witnessed by numerous neighbors. At one point Genovese screamed, "Oh my God, he stabbed me! Help me!" One of the neighbors shouted at the attacker, "Let that girl alone!" Moseley ran away and witnesses observed Moseley enter his car and drive away, only to return ten minutes later. He searched for and eventually found Genovese, who was lying in a hallway at the back of the building where a locked doorway had prevented her from entering. He then further attacked Genovese, stabbing her several more times and raping her as she lay dying. Later, some onlookers stated that they thought they were overhearing a "lovers quarrel" whilst others, who realized that they were witnessing a crime but failed to report it, said they assumed someone else already had. When the killer was apprehended, and Chief of Detectives Albert Seedman asked him how he dared to attack a woman in front of so many witnesses, the psychopath calmly replied, "I knew they wouldn't do anything, people never do" (Seedman & Hellman, 1974).
In the aftermath of this horrific murder, one question was asked and re-asked:...

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