Surveillance footage released by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) appears to show a young woman fending off sexual assault as onlookers pass by without offering her an iota of assistance.
The woman, who has yet to be identified, is apparently in her early 30s and fought back against her attacker for two-to-three minutes as he tried to remove her pants and underwear.
The suspect apparently stunk of booze and began his assault around 5:40 a.m. last Saturday just as the woman stepped out of her apartment for a morning jog.
In the video, the woman is thrown to the ground by the man, but struggles immediately–leveling kicks and punches and clawing at her attacker’s face even as he attempts to pin her down. Eventually, the exhausted perpetrator gives up and runs away.
The man was described as middle-aged, Hispanic, average height, and bald.
The turn of events shocked police due to the proximity of the assault–it occurred on a major thoroughfare heavily-trafficked by vehicles and pedestrians. LAPD Detective Karen Whidman said, “We’ve all been doing this for a long time, and this one caught our attention.” Detective Eric Rose noted that the woman tried to get help, but failed. He said:
“She was screaming, ‘Fire, fire, fire,’ to get someone to recognize what was happening.”
Whether passersby recognized it or not, the young woman’s bravery and temerity likely saved her from suffering a fate similar to Kitty Genovese, a 28-year-old woman who was raped and murdered in a lengthy knife attack in 1964. Genovese’s murder became a famous and sordid indictment of American bystander culture as nearly 40 of her neighbors saw or heard her cries for close to an hour but did nothing.
[image via screengrab]