As far as crimes go, it was the ultimate shocker. The violent rape and subsequent murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 changed America forever. What especially shocked the authorities was the bystander apathy that was displayed so blatantly by the onlookers. Nobody had the guts or conscience to make a simple phone call to the police.
As the criminal fiend Winston Moseley repeatedly stabbed her with a knife and had forced sex with her before killing her, it is said over 38 people gazed from their windows and did absolutely nothing.
It was just another murder and sexual assault like any other that took place in New York that year. But what was more than disturbing was the meaningless nature of the crime and of course the level of coldhearted indifference shown by the observers. All of Kitty’s screams for help were in vain.
But today there are voices of dissent that say that it didn’t exactly happen that way. First of all, the media exploited the issue in order to get back at the Civil Rights Movement which was in full swing.
Since Moseley was a black man and Kitty Genovese was a white woman, the situation played into the hands of white supremacists who wanted to persecute all of the black Americans living in the land for the crimes of a few. At least, that is the reason it got so much more attention than any of the other victims of similar crimes.
Then there is the fact that several people did try to help Kitty and one even phoned the police. An ambulance came too according to reports but it was too late by then. One of the people who were looking at the scene shouted at Moseley and he got so scared that he ran away.
Later on Moseley returned and again started stabbing and raping Genovese. Moseley was sentenced to death but later on he was awarded life imprisonment. He is still in jail and is an old man of 79 by now.
But of course the fact that Kitty Genovese lost her life for no other reason than that she was a woman who was the obsession of a rapist killer is cause for extreme sorrow. Criminals possessing Moseley’s mindset should be awarded the most exemplary punishment for their heinous deeds.