You Stand ALONE: woman attacked in front of onlookers

She cried rape — and no one helped
Woman attacked on subway platform as workers looked on

The young woman had been attacked in full view of a New York City subway clerk, then dragged down the steps onto a deserted platform where she was raped and raped again, the assailant not stopping even when a subway train pulled into the station.

Now, after nearly four years of constant nightmares, bouts of depression and anxiety, the woman **has been told by a judge that two transit workers who saw her being attacked had no obligation to do anything to help her other than to signal their superiors **that police were needed at the station.

More proof of two realities:

  1. You stand alone, the ultimate responsibility for your protection is yours.
  2. Those who delegate helping a woman being raped to*** “cops on the way” ***are a product of a society of delegators. This is now confirmed AGAIN by the court system.

“Hearing the decision about the case — it broke my heart. It really broke my heart,” the 26-year-old told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Wednesday in an exclusive broadcast interview in New York. “I was really hoping that changes would be made, that other women taking the subway out there could feel safe and secure. The subway is raising their fares and spending even less money on security.”

The reality is that people no longer view it as their duty to assist others in distress. What happened to the Good Samaritin? * In our modern society they did a 20/20 episode about how he should have minded his own business and because he didn’t he got sued! *

IF WE DON’T HELP OURSELVES, it is obvious that NOBODY WILL HELP US. Our society has really fallen when we allow things like this to happen and nobody steps up to help a woman who is being attacked and raped in public. It is no wonder that children run in gangs in our cities, the parents apparently think that raising good kids it up to someone else, perhaps the schools? It is no wonder that gangs run neighborhoods, that prostitutes walk openly on the streets of many cities, that thieves break into cars in shopping mall parking lots in the suburbs while onlookers ignore the wailing of car alarms. We just all walk along, assuming someone of the appropriate authority will come along to fix the problem. Our heads are in the sand.

                             She said she has forgiven her attacker, but not the MTA.

“Unfortunately, the man who assaulted me was obviously mentally ill and psychotic,” Maria said. “He probably had no basis of reality. He didn’t have a conscience, but the transit worker did. He was a human being capable of feeling emotions as I was. I just felt that it was so coldhearted and just completely abominable to basically look the other way.”

My head hurts now… :mad:

This story is so horrible and infuriating at the same time. I understand the MTA workers not wanting to leave their booth/train car, but the attitude that I am appalled by is the “Well, I’ve done my job. I don’t need to do any more.” They pushed the button. That’s all well and good, but what about the humanity and where-with-all to try to scare the attacker away? At the same time, to give the workers the benefit of the doubt, they might have been frozen with fear and just didn’t know what else to do. That would mean the MTA didn’t train them well, although they claimed they train their workers.

I agree with you in regards to “delegators”. No one feels like they have the obligation to help others anymore - or they are scared to, fearing a potential law suit. I don’t know what those MTA workers were thinking, but the way the judge ruled, I can’t help but think that those men felt they did their job by contacting authorities and to not do any more to help the situation. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman and I ride the NYC subways often, but I could not picture just letting a woman be attacked without trying to do more than just notifying my superiors that police were needed. I’ve seen many New Yorkers come to people’s aid in different capacities while on the subway either in the cars or on the platform and it just saddens me that in a situation such as this, nothing more was done to help this woman. Also, because as an “outsider” who doesn’t live in New York, I have always been impressed by first hand experience of how New Yorkers usually help others out when in trouble, something I have not experienced in other cities that I’ve either lived in or have frequented. At the same time, I don’t know if suing the individual MTA workers is a help for the cause in getting people to be more helpful in situations like this. It could further incite people not to assist. Going after the MTA is an entirely different thing, though. That could help in making them change their training policies and procedures.

This situation is just part of the bigger problem going on right now. People are now afraid to help others in need in all different situations because of potential suits, or because they don’t want to have deal with this burden, so they ignore it. I have even noticed this when driving on the roads. When I was a kid, I remember how people driving the other way would “warn” on-coming traffic by flashing their lights that there was a state trooper hiding to catch people going over the speed limit. Now, it is very rare when you see that. Not that I’m condoning that practice, but it shows to me in a small way that people’s attitudes with helping others have changed. Again, when I was younger, I remember when there was an accident, my father (a doctor) would be one of the medical personnel stopping to help along with many other lay people who were driving by. As I got older, I have noticed lay people assisting less and less. My father has told me that less people want to help because they are afraid of being sued, especially since the Good Samaritan laws in many areas no longer protect lay people against suits - and it is even starting to affect medical personnel who have stopped to help. Some of them are even being sued for helping. These laws are a problem.

I believe the psychological term for it is “bystander syndrome”. There have been studies done that if one person sees a crime being committed in a back alley, they will more often than not rush to the person’s aid. If a group sees it, though, the brain automatically starts waiting for someone else to step up.

I’d dispute the assertion, too, that its representative of modern society’s corruption. When a lynching took place in the South in the early 1900’s, did you think that everyone in the crowd believed the man should be lynched? What about the any number of riots in the 1800s? What about the crowd at the Crucifixion (it is Holy Week, after all)?

People in crowds have always been cowards.

That is interesting and there is probably credence to that. Although, I’ve experienced enough people in the New York City subways as well as trains over the past 8 years to know that New Yorkers tend to be different in that regard. They are usually quick to jump to a person’s aid whether criminal or when a person(s) are treating another in a very unkind, disrespectful and cruel manner… at least when there is a crowd. They actually tend to be more courageous, from my experience. It has been inspiring because I’ve had my share of conjuring up the courage of jumping to the aid of one or two people myself while on the subway. That said, the “bystander syndrome” probably is more common than not in many areas.

This is true. People haven’t really changed for the most part. Corruption really hasn’t diminished, although I believe it has changed. I think the point the OP was making was not about crowd mentality in situations such as you described. This was not a situation where the majority or the government was encouraging an evil act such as lynching, throwing people into work camps or concentration camps, guillotining innocents, raping and pillaging towns, or rowdy, angry colonists tarring and feathering or lynching Americans still loyal to the crown. Although, we have had centuries of that kind of “bystander syndrome”, there has always been stories of people or communities working towards helping others in individual situations.

This situation involved one mentally disturbed (as described by the victim) individual who was bent on an evil act - something that the majority would not have approved of and in most cases would have done something to stop. The two MTA men who witnessed the atrocity were not in a crowd. They witnessed the act individually and did good by notifying their superiors for police help. But for some reason they did nothing more to try to thwart the attacker from assaulting the victim, even when they knew that something horrible was going to happen or was currently happening to a helpless, young woman. Should they have been sued? Probably not. Should MTA been sued? I lean more strongly towards a yes. And I do not say that lightly. I’m not one who is for most law suits. In fact, I loathe most. But in regards to large entities or corporations, sometimes hitting their pockets is the only way to get them to change.

All that said, the more I think about it and with all the history books I’ve read, this kind of thing - morality, ethics, good works, etc. wax and wane through the centuries. When things are going well for people, they tend to forget about others, caring only for their well-being. It takes individuals to wake people up to atrocities happening in their back yards. So, for a few years or decades people will work towards idealistic pursuits, but then they become lazy again and start thinking of only themselves.

Anyone want to know why more and more women carry guns when they leave their homes? Just read the daily news papers.

well the workers we’re cleared of any wrong doing. in a strictly legal sense i agree with the ruling, but those ‘guy’ have no right to call themselves men ever again.

"well the workers we’re cleared of any wrong doing. in a strictly legal sense i agree with the ruling, but those ‘guy’ have no right to call themselves men ever again.’

I used to work for the state of NY. Let me tell you it is truly eivl how thay beat it in your head NEVER to get involved. Thay don’t care if someones life is on the line you are never to step in and try to help someone. All thay wish for you to do is call 911 and let the cops deal with the problem. If thay steped in and lets say yelled at the scumbag to stop you called the cops ect. Thay would lose there job. Thats what their family counts on for everything. Heath retirement ect. All lost. Pls be more upset with the State of NY and for the folks who did not work there who could have steped in without hurting their familys.

That’s so horrible. Then it’s a definitely a good thing the MTA was being sued. There really is something wrong that the State of New York, especially the MTA, can be permitted to continue this kind policy. Something has to be done about it and perhaps this law suit against the MTA will make them change. I’m glad the victim is pursuing it and going for an appeal.

It was 2:00 a.m. when the incident occurred. The only people there were the two MTA workers, the rapist and the victim. No one else. So, no one else other than those two workers were there to help that girl. She had to only rely on them. It’s horrible and appalling that their job would force them to choose between their livelihood and the life of a victim, instead of immediately reacting to help another person in need.

Knowing this give me no comfort in riding any MTA transit in Manhatten.

You do realize there is virtually no chance of the woman getting a just appeal :frowning:

Sadly our court system has, on several occasions, held that even the police are not responsible for individual protection. The only person who can be counted on to attempt to protect you, reliably, is you. Even the police are not legally bound to step in, thankfully they do when/if they arrive. But even that cannot be counted upon.

Look at the recent shooting at the immigration center in New York. There was a shooter INSIDE the building killing people and the police were on the OUTSIDE of the building FOR AN HOUR, just WAITING, before they entered. How many lives were lost because they didn’t go in?

Aiding and abetting, anyone?

Another reason I moved back home to the country from the city. I never understood why people in the city behave the way they do. Not that all country people are angels, but it seems like city people dont give a dang about nothin.

I wonder if the lack of oxygen in the air in a city makes a difference in the way people behave.

This has happened an awful lot in recent years where people just stand and watch things like this happening. I think we should charge all of the bystanders with failure to render aid.

On the other hand, she was at a public transportation depot, so she was asking for it. I will not allow my wife to ride on our criminal transportation systems. Why do we have to help them move around the city, shouldn’t we try to limit them to one area?

What on earth are you talking about?

If public transportation in New York is anything like what I’ve experienced, I say she is partly responsible for going into a situation where you will obviously be surrounded by the dregs of society alone and unprepared. If I walk out of Phoenix with nothing but the clothes on my back into the desert telling all the people I run into that I am going to go live off the land with my bare hands, no tools and no supplies, and the people I meet tell me that’s a bad idea, is it their fault only that I died in the desert? Would I not share some blame for doing something so stupid?

I strongly disagree with your post. While its possible that she might be expected to understand that she took a risk going alone at 2 am ( or whatever the time was ) she certainly was not " asking for it " no one who gets raped ( or assaulted otherwise ) is asking for it. Increasing the risk is not the same as inviting the danger. don’t blame the victim. The rape is NOT her fault. If you walk down a dark alley and someone shoots you to death , is it your fault, or that of the person who pulled the trigger

Originally I was being sarcastic. But in your example, if I am walking down a dark side alley off of MLK blvd in the late night hours and I get shot, I would say unequivocally that I was asking for it. You might even call that suicide by proxy, similar to when someone commits suicide by cop.

  1. It is virtually impossible to drive to work in NYC. You can’t do it. The subway is basically your only option, unless you want to walk across half of Manhattan.

  2. Riding the New York subway is not as dangerous as you’ve portrayed it. Maybe if you ride it into a poor area in the middle of the night, but in normal hours it isn’t horrible. You aren’t surrounded by the dregs of society; there’s probably some unsavory characters, but the majority of the train will be made up of New Yorkers going to work. We aren’t living in the world of Escape from New York.

  3. What does this mean?:

Why do we have to help them move around the city, shouldn’t we try to limit them to one area?

Who is the “they”? Commuters who need the subway to get to work on time?

i think you made a smart move. i grew up in the state just north of you, so i understand the better quality of life growing up in the country as opposed to the city. after living in phoenix for almost 30 years, i had to learn quick that it is every man for himself. there are a few good samaritans who will come to your aide, but you had better learn to fend for yourself and to be on guard at all times.

i don’t know what time of day this attack took place in NYC, but i am not going to put blame on the victim. there have been assaults (not necessarily sexual) on the new light rail train service that is running through phoenix now. the first assaults began shortly after the train service began. the service is above ground, not below ground. it is public transportation. our cities should be safe for everyone at any hour at any place in a perfect world. people in cities don’t want to get involved for fear of retaliation, or simply indifference. the police have a hard time getting people to cooperate and help them get descriptions of criminals or finding a witness to come forward. not to say that life in the country is free from crime, but you don’t have as many predators perhaps.

i feel bad for what happened to this woman and that the two workers did not do more to prevent her further harm. that must have made her feel more victimized.

I agree. I ride the New York subways at least once a week and actually just came from Manhatten today. The thought of commuting by car is actually laughable. The subway is probably the fastest and easiest. I can’t stand the buses and if I have time, I’ll walk which is even nicer on a beautiful day. During the day and even in the evenings in mid-town, the subways are decent and fine. And as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve seen more regular New Yorkers on the subways come to people’s aid in the cars than in other parts of the country. That’s why the workers’ actions were a shock to me.

Whether or not the young woman should have been riding the subway at 2:00 a.m. is not the issue. She wasn’t asking for it and she didn’t deserve being repeatedly raped. Like in the suburbs and in the country, people in the cities also go out and come home late at night. Most people in cities don’t own cars, so public transportation is their mode of travel. It isn’t that unusual that the woman, especially for her age, would have been traveling that late at night. I’ve had to travel late at night after rehearsals in Manhatten from the subway to the train station. You learn how to be always on alert if you are by yourself. She, unfortunately, was caught off guard and probably would have been ok had she been able to get off of her original stop.

However, the city made it their business to legally disarm its citizens. It is not only against the law in NYC for the average person to carry a gun, it is also illegal for most of the citizens to carry mace, tazers, stun guns and even asps. So basically the city has taken on the responsibility of defending its citizens, but cannot practically provide that protection. It refuses to let its citizens protect themselves. So predatory criminals essentially have free reign.

What to do?

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