Would You Do Something?

Suppose you were walking down the street, or sitting in your apartment, or leaving a store when you hear a call for help. You move closer to the noise to see what is going on. You see someone, be it man, woman, child being hurt/attacked/raped/beaten. Your mind seems to move in slow motion. Can this be happening? After all you have probably only seen this kind of violence in the movies. Then you realize that yes, it's happening. More people see it/hear it, they move closer too. What do you do?

1. Watch in disbelief/horror/amusement
2. Try to intervene, possibly putting yourself in harm's way
3. Make a call or seek help for the victim

It seems like a simple choice, what person or group would chose number one?

But just days ago, a large group of people stood watching, taking cell phone photos/videos, joining in or standing silently as a 15 year old girl was beaten and raped outside of a school dance. No one stopped it. No one reported it.

Criminology and psychology experts call this the Genovese syndrome- a "... social phenomenon known as the bystander effect. It's a theory that has played out in lynchings, college riots and white-collar crimes. Under the bystander effect, experts say that the larger the number of people involved in a situation, the less will get done." In a crowd of people who are doing nothing, doing nothing becomes the norm for all. Sadly this syndrome is named after a woman, Kitty Genovese, who was stalked and killed in and around her NYC apartment as neighbors and bystanders looked on in the 1960's.

How is this possible? In an age after Columbine, when mass emails, books and articles have been written about standing up when asked if you believe in God. After September 11, when thousands of strangers banded together to save each other and a select few were brave enough to take down a  plane piloted by terrorists. In an age, when bullet-proof backpacks are sold for our grammar school kids to use as protection....How could NOT ONE PERSON do something to help?

One person couldn't say STOP? One person couldn't make a call?

Would you?


  1. I absolutely would. But this new generation of kids, I'm scared for. Really. There is such a lack of caring in so many people currently.

  2. This story truly sickens me, and it happened not that far from where I live. What's even worse is that it went on for 2 hours, and some of those involved went into the dance and bragged about it, bringing others in to join. That poor girl is going to live with this for the rest of her life. How hard would it have been for someone to call 911?

  3. I would definitely do something...anything I could to stop what was happening. I think it's an absolute shame that no one did anything AND took pictures of her being victimized. It makes me hope that something like that happens to them in prison and no one does anything about it.

  4. I don't watch the news much because this type of story just makes me sick. And sad. And scared for the world. Hell yes I would have called 911. Absolutely. Even when I was 15 I would have and the fact that this went on for hours just makes me so terribly upset. That poor girl. I hope she manages to get through her ordeal.

  5. They can't call the cops, but they can pull out their phones to photograph it.

  6. I would absolutely do something! It's scary to think that enough humans have behaved this way that it's been studied in phsychology and given a name.

  7. Good post! Good question!

    I know that I would do something but your post reminds me to teach my chidren that they must do something.

    I am so sad to hear this story and so sorry for the girl.

  8. I couldn't stand by. I couldn't. I cant understand how people stand by. But I know all it takes is ONE VOICE and people who were too afraid to stand out will begin to speak up.

    All it takes is ONE to start. This is tragic. Very upsetting. That poor child.


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