Gang Raped As Bystander Do Nothing

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Document Description SWITCH TO: CNN INTERNATIONAL SEARCH Sign up Log in Home Video NewsPulse U.S. World Politics Justice Entertainment Tech Health Living Travel Opinion iReport Money Sports Alleged rape raises questions about bystanders By Stephanie Chen, CNN (CNN) -- For more than two hours on a dark Saturday night, as many as 20 people watched or took part as a 15-year-old California girl was allegedly gang raped and be
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    Home   Video   U.S.   World   Politics   Justice   Entertainment   Tech   Health   Living   Travel   Opinion   iReport   By   Stephanie Chen , CNN Alleged rape raises questions aboutbystanders (CNN) -- For more than two hours on a darkSaturday night, as many as 20 peoplewatched or took part as a 15-year-oldCalifornia girl was allegedly gang raped andbeaten outside a high school homecomingdance, authorities said.As hundreds of students gathered in theschool gym, outside in a dimly lit alley wherethe victim was allegedly raped, police saywitnesses took photos. Others laughed. As people announced over time that this was going on, morepeople came to see, and some actually participated, Lt. Mark Gagan of the Richmond Police Department told CNN.Thewitnesses failedto reportthe crimeto lawenforcement, Gagan said. The victim remained hospitalized in stable condition. Policearrested five suspects and more arrests were expected.So why didn't anyone come forward?Criminology and psychology experts say there could be avariety of reasons whythe crime wasn't reported. Severalpointed to a problematic social phenomenon known asthe bystander effect. It's a theory that has played out inlynchings, college riotsand white-collar crimes.Under the bystander effect, experts say that the largerthe number of people involved ina situation, the less willget done. If you are in a crowd and you look and see thateveryone is doing nothing, then doing nothing becomesthe norm. explains Drew Carberry, a director at theNational Council on Crime Prevention.Carberry said witnesses can be less likely to report acrime because they reinforce each other with the notionthat reporting the crime isn't necessary. Or, he says,witnesses may think another person in the crowd alreadyreported the incident. The responsibility among the groupbecomes diffused. Kids learn at a young age when they observe bullyingthat they would rather not get involved because there is a powerstructure, Carberry adds.The phrase bystander effect was coined in the 1960s after dozensof people watched a serial killer stalk and stab a woman in twoseparate attacks in the Queens neighborhood of New York. Today's five most popular stories Explore the news with NewsPulse »  NewsPulse Police: As many as 20 presentat gang rape Licenses of pilots who missedairport revoked Three arrested in collegeathlete's death Police: 'Jane Doe' emptied bankaccount Rough rush hour expected asBay Bridge closes  Law firm search Search for attorneys by location and area of practice. CitynameSelectastateAreaofpractice   SWITCH TO:CNN INTERNATIONAL  Sign upLog in   SEARCHSEARCHSEARCHSEARCH NewsPulse Money Sports The phrase bystander effect was coined in the 1960s afterdozens watched a killer stab Kitty Genovese.  STORY HIGHLIGHTS Psychologists say bystanders inlarge groups are less likely to take action   Police: Asmany as 20people watched gang rape spanning over two hoursBystanders didn't report assault to police and some participatedin the attack Some experts argue thewitnesses may have feared retaliation from the gang   Video: Girl gang -raped for hours   Video: Gang rape outside school dance   Video: Can witnesses be prosecuted? RELATED TOPICS   Sexual Offenses California  or:advanced search  Kitty Genovese struggled with the attacker on the street and in herbuilding. She shrieked for help and was raped, robbed andmurdered. When witnesses in the building were questioned bypolice about why they remained silent, one man, according to the1964 New York Times article that broke the story, answered, I didn'twant to be involved. Though the number of people who heard Genovese struggle waseventually disputed, her case still became symbolic of a kind ofcrowd apathy that psychologists and social scientists call the Genovese syndrome. I don't propose people get involved by running over and trying tostop it, the 73-year-old brother of Kitty Genovese told CNN,referring to the California gang rape case. Instead, VincentGenovese advocates a call to 911. Everyone has a cell phone, hesaid. There is no excuse for people not to react to a situation likethat. A similar incident took place at a New Bedford, Massachusetts bar in1983. Witnesses said several men threw a woman on a pool tablewhere they raped and performed oral sex on her. Several witnessesfailed to call police. The people in the bar didn't do anything. They just let it happen, said Richard Felson, a professor of crime, law and justice at PennState University in University Park, Pennsylvania.This detached mentality can be especially pervasive among youth,who are too young to comprehend what victimization means, saidSalvatore Didato, an organizational psychologist in New York. Whena teenager -- or anyone -- -doesn't have a personal bond to thevictim, they are less likely to help out.Experts say sometimes bystanders see the victim as less importantthan the person committing the crime, who appears to wield power. The victim to them is a non-person, Didato said.But in California, it's illegal for a witnessed crime involving childrento go unreported. The Sherrice Iverson Child Victim Protection Actpassed in 1999 makes it a misdemeanor to fail to report a crimeagainst a child. However, the bill only applies to victims 14 oryounger. The victim in the California gang-rape case was 15.Phil Harris, a criminal justice professor at Temple University, whohas studied juveniles and group situations for nearly three decades,offered another hypothesis on why as many as 20 witnesses failedto notify police. He said the witnesses could have been angrythemselves -- or had a problem with the victim.Richmond Police Department officials said some of the witnesses inthe California gang rape ended up participating in the sexualassaults. A lot of kids don't know how to express anger and they are curiouswhen anger is expressed, Harris said.Scientific studies over the last decade have shown that adolescentbrain development occurs into the 20s, which makes it hard forteens to make decisions, criminologists say. In 2005, the U.S.Supreme Court took this research into consideration when it ruledthat children could not be given the death penalty.It is still unclear the ages of the male witnesses who gatheredaround the victim in California and watched.In Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern University criminologist Jack    McDevitt says he believes the California gang rape was too violent -- and lasted too long -- to be the result of the bystander effectalone.McDevitt, who specializes in hate crime research, says the malewitnesses may have kept quiet out of fear of retaliation. In hisresearch, witnesses who live in violent communities often fearstepping forward because snitching isn't tolerated.Snitching could also bring dangerous consequences to their friendsand family. They don't believe the system will protect them from theoffender, he said. They think the offender will find out their name. That may have been the case in Chicago, Illinois, in Septemberwhen an honor student was beaten to death by four teenage boysoutside a school. Video captured by a bystander showed severalstudents watching the attack, but police have found many of thewitnesses tight-lipped in the South side community where violencehas been prevalent. Police have charged three suspects withmurder.While information from the Richmond Police Department in thecoming weeks may reveal more about the bystanders and attackers,crime experts say one thing is clear: Third parties can affect theoutcome of a crime. Witnesses have the power to deter violence --or stop a crime from going on, experts say.Bystanders could have prevented the gang rape from lasting morethan two hours, if they had reported the crime to authorities sooner.The victim was found under a bench, semi-conscious. This just gets worse and worse the more you dig into it, Lt. MarkGagan of the Richmond Police Department. It was like a horrormovie. I can't believe not one person felt compelled to help her. Nick Valencia contributed to this report. FOLLOW THIS TOPIC   About 20 people witnessed gang rape Rape victim fights backlog Rape of women in Congo  We recommend Alleged rape raises questions about bystanders Five arrested in alleged rape of girl at Californiahigh school Couple alive after car pins them to bed for almostan hour  More Justice Home|Video| NewsPulse|U.S.|World|Politics|Justice|Entertainment|Tech|Health|Living|Travel|Opinion|iReport|Money|Sports  Tools & Widgets|Podcasts|Blogs|CNN Mobile|My Profile|E - mail Alerts|CNN Radio|CNN Shop|Site map  SEARCHSEARCHSEARCHSEARCH CNN en ESPA Ñ OL|CNN Chile|CNN Expansion| | | | CNN TV|HLN|Transcripts   ©  2009 Cable News Network.Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.All Rights Reserved.Terms of service|Privacy guidelines|Advertising practices|Advertise with us|About us|Contact us|Help 
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