Remembering Catherine "Kitty" Genovese: A public forum

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Urban psychology, Kitty Genovese, victims, Guardian Angels, New York City


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


To mark the fortieth anniversary of the tragic death of Catherine "Kitty" Genovese on March 13, 1964 in NewYork City, a public forum hosted by Fordham University brought together an interdisciplinary group of experts to look back on this sad event. What follows is a summary of this forum, joined by 100 New Yorkers and the mass media. Even four decades after this tragedy was brought to world-wide attention by the book Thirty-eight witnesses (Rosenthal, 1965), new facts continue to surface about this haunting crime and its aftermath (DeMay, 2004). This forum addressed some timely questions, such as: (1) Were Genovese-type situations rare or common in the past, or even today? (2) How did mass media coverage of Ms. Genovese' 1964 tragedy impact society? (3) Why does this woman’s tragedy continue to move us so deeply today, even those of us who were not yet born in 1964? (4) Should U.S. duty-to-aid laws encourage or even oblige citizens to come to each other’s aid in crises if they can safely do so--as is typically the law in other nations? The forum benefited from the expertise of 10 panelists who review diverse aspects of this topic

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