Miles-tones

Kitty Genovese: 5 Songs For A Girl No One Would Help

The eyes of Kitty Genovese have haunted us since the first moment we saw this picture.

On this day in 1964, she was walking home to her New York apartment when a man named Winston Moseley approached her. Less than 100 feet from the apartment she shared with girlfriend Mary Ann Zielonko, he stabbed her twice before running away. Her cries alerted a few neighbors, one of whom shouted for Moseley to leave her alone, but otherwise no help was offered.

Later, Moseley returned in disguise to rape the barely-conscious Genovese and finish her off with another round of stabbings. Afterwards, he stole $49 from her wallet. She was 28.

Genovese's attack has become the hallmark case for bystander's effect, also know as Genovese syndrome. The phenomenon states that the more people who witness an attack, the less likely any one of them are to intervene.

The news of the time reported that Genovese had been attacked in full view of 38 people, but that none had come to her aid or called the police. This story is somewhat exaggerated, as the police were notified at least once that something had happened, and the number of witnesses is much exaggerated.

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner