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Why Kitty Genovese is Relevant Today (trigger alert)

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

From Wiki

"In the early hours of March 13, 1964, 28year-old, Kitty Genovese, was stabbed outside the apartment building across the street from where she lived, in an apartment above a row of shops on Austin Street, in a neighborhood of Queens in NYC. Two weeks after the murder, The New York Times published an article claiming that 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack, and that none of them called the police or came to her aid."

These details have since been disputed, but the message is clear.

"The incident prompted inquiries into what became known as the bystander effect or 'Genovese syndrome', and the murder became a staple of U.S. psychology textbooks for the next four decades."

Given the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements that have taken hold of our progressive agenda, our cultural backlash against discrimination and violence, in the past few years, one would think an incident like this would not occur today.

Or would it?

I had a friend who recently opened a cabinet door straight into her face. She walked around with a swollen, black eye and a large cut above it for the following week.

Not one person she saw that week mentioned it. Not her friends, neighbors, coworkers. Not people she connected with on Facetime nor Zoom meetings.

No. One.

With our current mandate on face coverings, the eyes are about the only part of the face we can see these days. But no one mentioned it. Even stranger, people that week commented on her clothing, hair, even a new pair of glasses she donned (because her injuries were too painful to wear contacts).

Why didn't anyone ask about her injury?

Because woman + black eye = a question of violence (or even more taboo, domestic violence)

My friend said the only thing more alarming than her injury, was the fact that nobody mentioned it. She felt unsettled knowing that if she had been a victim of violence, those closest to her would continue to wait and watch.

Why are we still so scared to ask about violence?

Read more about warning signs and how to help.


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