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They are not 'required' to help, but should they have done something?

Posted by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 11:52 AM
  • 23 Replies


Victim Maria Besedina


In 2005, a woman was raped in an empty Queens subway station.  She appealed for help from two NYC Transit workers - but they did nothing to prevent the rape. 

As a result, the victim sued NYC Transit, however, a judge recently dismissed the lawsuit and ruled that subway employees are only obligated to pick up the phone to report a crime.  

At the time of the attack, a subway conductor saw the attack from the window of his train,  while a station agent inside the tollbooth witnessed the woman screaming as she was dragged down the stairs. 

Does she have a case or was the judge wrong in dismissing it? Should there be a new law requiring that employees must physically help out in an emergency?

Here's a link to a video.


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by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 11:52 AM
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Replies (1-10):
admckenzie
by New Member on Apr. 8, 2009 at 11:59 AM

For 38 yrs I wondered why no one called the police when they knew I was being raped. One guy tried to help but was told he'd be shot if he didn't go away....but how hard is it to pick up the phone and call for  help?

Legally there may not have been a duty to help but they could surely have called authorities and let them know. Even the security guards watching the security tape could have called. Just something. Being raped is the most helpless feeling I've ever endured and to know someone knows and is not getting help is devastating. It's as though you are not valued as a human to be helped. If it were a dog being attacked someone would have helped. That's what kept going through my mind at the time. Sad.

canthaveboys1
by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 12:04 PM

I would say so. Its not normal for people to just scream their heads off in the subway and for others to drag them down the stairs. What burns my ass is that it said not required except to report a crime. Well what the hell do you call rape, certainly not deserved, asked for, foreplay, or normal. Its a crime. What the hell is wrong with people? By picking up the phone they would have been reporting a crime, that is the very least that they could have done. 

CharmaineL
by Bronze Member on Apr. 8, 2009 at 12:05 PM

I think they called the authorities but by the time the police arrived, it was just too late - arriving 10 minutes later.

luckcharm
by Bronze Member on Apr. 8, 2009 at 12:16 PM

It is unfair to tell an employee that they have to put themselves in danger to help a customer.  So, if the lawsuit stated that then the judge was correct in dismissing the cases.

However,  it is the responsibility of the people in charge of the subway to make it safe.  They should have alarms or something that can be activated that may at least scare an atacker away.  They are responsible for using the information that could be learned from this unfortunate crime to make it safer for others who ride the subway.

Would it have been common decency for the employees of the subway to intervene and help this woman? Yes, it would have been.  But, you can not legally make someone put themselves into a situation that endangers themselves.   One of the employees was a woman,  do you think she could have defended herself and the woman that was attacked or ended up a victim herself?  Who knows? The majority of the time an attacker would run when faced with someone coming to the aid of the victim,  most rapist are cowards,  but not all are. 

                   

chrissynharry5
by Member on Apr. 8, 2009 at 12:44 PM

Someone should have helped. There is no excuse for WATCHING someone be brutalized, sexually or otherwise.

~Chrissy Momma to Harry 5 and Celebrating the Arrival of Charlotte Elizabeth Louisa 3/4/08
sassyandy124
by Bronze Member on Apr. 8, 2009 at 1:05 PM

    This kind of thing is one reason so many areas have enacted 'good samaritan' laws. Although even the wording in those are shaky as far as endangering yourself. I think the bottom line is that you really can not legislate morality. Some people will put themselves at risk for others, because they empathize, and know it's the right thing to do. Others say, " I have husband/wife/kids etc..that need me or I would" as if their life is more important tham those who are single and childless. Personally, I have and always will take that risk, and I hope someone will do th same for me or my family if we ever need help.

   Of course the flip side to  this, is the people who DO try to help, and get sued for it. They try to do the right thing, and end up losing their home, cars, and savings. That is also wrong a far as I'm concerned.

cdgoldilocks
by Bronze Member on Apr. 8, 2009 at 1:07 PM


Quoting luckcharm:

It is unfair to tell an employee that they have to put themselves in danger to help a customer.  So, if the lawsuit stated that then the judge was correct in dismissing the cases.

However,  it is the responsibility of the people in charge of the subway to make it safe.  They should have alarms or something that can be activated that may at least scare an atacker away.  They are responsible for using the information that could be learned from this unfortunate crime to make it safer for others who ride the subway.

Would it have been common decency for the employees of the subway to intervene and help this woman? Yes, it would have been.  But, you can not legally make someone put themselves into a situation that endangers themselves.   One of the employees was a woman,  do you think she could have defended herself and the woman that was attacked or ended up a victim herself?  Who knows? The majority of the time an attacker would run when faced with someone coming to the aid of the victim,  most rapist are cowards,  but not all are. 

Yep. I do, however, think that in light of the rape that added security should have been implemented. The workers did their duty by phoning police. I would probably not have went to aid her either, unless I had some sort of weapon.

2egbhgx.jpg Eleanor Roosevelt image by whatadollx3


A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have. -Barry Goldwater

usafamom3
by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 1:44 PM

I don't think you can force people to do the right thing but ignoring this poor women was the cowards way out. Shame on them, wonder how they would have felt if it was their wife, daughter, or mother instead of a complete stranger. Would they have wanted someone to get involved or just stand there and look the other way.

sweetie00
by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 1:56 PM

I have to agree, why didn't they yell and scream- scare the guys away. Call 911. They are accessories to the crime for not doing anything.

Quoting chrissynharry5:

Someone should have helped. There is no excuse for WATCHING someone be brutalized, sexually or otherwise.


che_bad
by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 3:10 PM

that's just pathetic!  disgusting and pathetic!  even if you aren't legally compelled, how do you turn your back on fellow human being in danger like that (especially if they were calling out to you and pleading for help) and live with yourself?   if the popultion as a whole wasn't so apathetic maybe this world would be a safer place.

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