The demise that befall Catherine Genovese, whom every person in our neighborhood referred her as Kitty, has made me to ponder on the question as to why this happened, yet a single person among the 38 of us who witnessed the incident would have helped. I have known Kitty since I moved in Queens three years ago. She had been promoted four months ago to the position of a manager at her place of work.
During that fateful morning, my alarm clock had woke me up at 3.00 A.M. as I was looking forward to starting preparing for work as it is my daily routine. While I was in the kitchen preparing a cup of coffee, I was startled by a woman’s sharp scream that seemed to come from somewhere outside my apartment. The words from the woman’s scream were “Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me! Please help me! Then silence followed.
At first, I was confused and wondering who could be screaming at that time of the night. It was approximately 3:20 A.M. I decided to rush to the balcony to see what was going down. I switched on the lights, and tried to have a view of what was happening in the thick of the darkness. Suddenly, lights from several houses in the neighborhood were switched on, and I could see a number of people peeping through their windows. I could see a woman near a street light in Austin Street, holding her stomach with her hands, and she appeared to be in pain. There was a man holding her, and I thought that he was attacking her. A man from one of the apartments shouted: “Let that girl alone!” Then the man started walking down the Austin Street in the direction of a white sedan that was parked about 3 meters. Sadly, there was nobody who came outside to assist the woman or call 911, me included. The reluctance of other people to come out of their houses made me not to take any action.
I was trying to figure out interpret the situation, by looking what course of actions that my neighbors would take, when after approximately one minute, they all returned to their houses and the lights from the apartments went off. I also decided to go back into my apartment. Then I heard another scream after about five minutes, “I’m dying! I’m dying!” Hurriedly, I went back to the balcony, and then saw the attacker getting into his car and driving away. By this time, Kitty was staggering to her feet. Then a city bus passed by. I hesitated to get out of my house to go and help Kitty. It was approximately 3.35 A.M. I stood there wondering what was the best course of action, where to call the police, or let other people do it themselves.
At approximately 3:50 A.M., I heard sirens from police cars, and an ambulance as well approached. The police started securing the crime scene, and then Kitty’s neighbor, a woman who was 70 years old, came out of her house. I also decided to go out. No one else in the neighborhood came out. I could see Kitty’s body being strapped into a stretcher and put in an ambulance. Speaking to one of the police, I was told that she had been pronounced dead by the time medics had arrived at the scene. I thought to myself, had other people came out to help her, I would also have come out, and Kitty would have had a chance to live.
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