Monday, August 27, 2007

Say it ain't so

Oh God. I just read on Broadsheet that a a security camera caught a 26-year-old woman in Minnesota being beaten and raped for over an hour in the hallway of an apartment building. But what really saddens me is that the security footage shows at least 10 neighbors peeking out of their apartments and venturing down the hallway to investigate the commotion -- but no one intervened. The police were finally called nearly 90 minutes into the attack, reports the Star Tribune.

Yes, there is a phenomenon called "bystander syndrome" or the bystander effect where someone is less likely to help out in an emergency situation when other people are present. Presumably because everyone thinks that someone else is going to help. (An infamous examples isthe 1964 Genovese case where a woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death in 1964 by a serial rapist and murderer on the streets of Queens.)

I dunno -- admittedly never having been in that situation, I can't say for certain that I wouldn't fall prey to the syndrome, but I still have a hard time believing that anyone could witness a woman being raped without at MINIMUM calling 911. Maybe next time, since tragically there will no doubt be a next time, everyone should assume that nobody is calling for help and therefore be the one to do it.

Imagine that poor woman just waiting for help that didn't come. I can't get it out of my head. Neither should the people who let her wait.

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