Friday, March 13, 1964: Kitty Genovese

On March 13, 1964, a 28-year-old woman named Catherine "Kitty" Genovese was raped and killed in two separate late-night attacks near her home in Kew Gardens, Queens. Police found that at least 38 people had seen the attacks or heard Genovese scream, but no one intervened and just one woman called the police.
     The story was barely reported until two weeks later, when Martin Gansberg covered it in vivid detail in The New York Times ... Gansberg detailed why some of the witnesses hadn't acted. One said that he "didn't want to get involved," while another said, "without emotion," according to Gansberg, "I was tired. I went back to bed."
     The article ignited outrage against the 38 residents. Pundits proclaimed that it was an example of society's moral decay ... Psychologists coined the term "Genovese syndrome" to explain why people are less likely to act in an emergency if others are present.
     The Kitty Genovese episode became infamous, but later examination found that Gansberg had exaggerated details and presented a misleading perspective of the witnesses' actions. All but one of the witnesses likely saw or heard only the first attack, after which Genovese walked away, giving the impression that she was all right. The second attack took place out of view of most people. Only one man saw the attack. He told another woman to call the police, but it was too late to save Genovese.
     -- From The Learning Network, New York Times (link: @)
     -- Photo from The Saturday Evening Post (link to story: @)

* New York Times story, March 27, 1964: @ (Note: The headline as printed was "37 Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police / Apathy at Stabbing of Queens Woman Shocks Inspector")
* "The Detached Americans" (Carousel Films, 1964): @
* "Kitty, 40 Years Later" (Jim Rasenberger, New York Times, February 2004): @
* "Nightmare On Austin Street" (Rasenberger, American Heritage, 2006): @
* "The Kitty Genovese Murder and the Social Psychology of Helping" (Rachel Manning, Mark Levine and Alan Collins, American Psychologist, September 2007): @
* "Debunking the myth of Kitty Genovese" (Larry Getlen, New York Post, February 2014): @
* "A Call For Help: What the Kitty Genovese story really means" (Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker, March 2014): @
* "Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America" (Kevin Cook, 2014): @
* "Fifty Years After Kitty Genovese: Inside The Case That Rocked Our Faith in Each Other" (Albert A. Seedman and Peter Hellman, 2014): @
* "Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences" (Catherine Pelonero, 2014): @ 

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