What Is the Bystander Effect? Murder of Kitty Genovese. Why we still look away: Kitty Genovese, James Bulger and the bystander effect. More than half a century later, the death of Kitty Genovese continues to remind us of the disconnect between what we believe about ourselves and how we really act under pressure.
The murder of the 28-year-old outside her apartment in the Queens neighborhood of Kew Gardens in the early morning of 13 March 1964 rippled through New York City and around the world. How could a young, independent woman who lived on her own terms be so easily struck down? How could so many neighbors look on and turn away as she was stabbed repeatedly on the street and in her apartment building? What did that collective inability to act reveal about ourselves, our communities, and our belief systems? Genovese’s killer, Winston Moseley, died in prison this week, bringing the case and its implications back into the spotlight. Crowded Minds: The Implicit Bystander Effect. The Bystander-Effect: A Meta-Analytic Review on Bystander Intervention in Dangerous and Non-Dangerous Emergencies. The Science of Empathy.