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?