Bystander Effect

Topics: Bystander effect, Kitty Genovese, Diffusion of responsibility Pages: 2 (850 words) Published: August 31, 2013
On the 18th of April, 2010, in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, a middle-aged woman was attacked by a mugger, carrying a knife, alongside a sidewalk. While she was crying for help, a homeless man, Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax, jumped into action by guarding the women. As soon as the mugger realized that he was about to be caught, he stabbed Hugo several times in the chest and escaped immediately. The woman Hugo protected fled the scene before he even collapsed. He was lying by the sidewalk and suffering for more than an hour as nearly 25 people emotionlessly ambled past. One of the pedestrians was able to take out his phone and take a photo of the suffering man, but was not capable of helping him. However, after more than an hour, firefighters were at spot and found the 31 year old, dead by the sidewalk. But why did these pedestrians walk past even without noticing the suffering hero? Why were they not willing to take any action? The reason why they behaved in a certain manner was not because they didn’t care. Yet, it’s all directed by the surroundings. In this case, the incident took place in the middle of a busy city. As the pedestrians walk past the suffering man in such a location, they would lose their individual responsibility and tend to think that others present would take action. Hence, this social psychological phenomenon could be referred to as the bystander effect. Bystander effect was confirmed after the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964. Kitty was raped and stabbed to death in two different attacks as she was on the way back home from her work. According to several media accounts, the assault lasted for nearly an hour and 38 witnesses, sitting in their buildings, saw the incident, yet took no action. Several reports relate Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax’s case with Kitty Genovese’s. However, there is a major difference between the two. In Kitty’s case, the bystanders were present in groups, yet in Hugo’s case, the pedestrians were individuals, so their...
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