Pray have prayed
Lord, bring physical, emotional and spiritual healing to the woman who was raped on a Philadelphia train, and may we be vigilant to bring things to You and to law enforcement when necessary.

On October 13 a woman was raped by an illegal alien with a prior sexual abuse conviction. It happened on a train in Philadelphia, where ten passengers saw at least part of the attack, and yet not one of them called 911. Instead, security cameras show that some used their phones to record the incident, possibly for social media posts.

Before you read on, take a moment to forgive the perpetrator and those who let him get away with it. As we pray for justice and righteousness to prevail we cannot do it by harboring sin in our own hearts.

All hearts clear?

Now let’s prayerfully look at the deeper concerns underlying this incident.

The Bystander Effect

In 1964 a similar incident took place when Kitty Genovese was raped and murdered in Queens, NY. Though the initial reportage has been called into question, it is clear that 37-49 witnesses saw or heard some of the two-part attack without calling the police.

That incident is cited as impetus for developing the 911 call system.

The fact that no one contacted the police until after Genovese had been left to die also sparked social psychological research into the “Genovese syndrome” also called “the bystander effect,” which suggests that if people witness a crime when there are many people around, they are less likely to contact authorities because they believe someone else will take action.

With modern technology there’s another excuse: “Well, I can’t call 911 if I’m filming the event.” I’ve witnessed this firsthand twice.

The first incident was the day after I saw I’m Not Ashamed, about Rachel Joy Scott and how her life came to an end during the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 when she was asked if she believed in God by one of the shooters and Scott replied, “You know I do.” I was at the train station thinking about how Scott honored the Lord in that moment when four girls close to the age of Scott sat or stood next to me. I offered my seat so more of the girls could sit, and then told them about the film. A gentleman on the other side of the station, in his inebriated state, thought I had evil intentions toward the girls. He started taunting me and eventually stumbled toward me. Nearly everyone in the station pressed into a row to get a better look, and many filmed the incident. When the man swung at me, thankfully I had my bike helmet with me and blocked his punch. I told him in his heart language of Spanish that I’d been to his country and loved it. Then he wanted to hug me! When he stumbled onto the train, I waited for the next one in case he changed his mind about my character. Even with the added time of waiting for the next train, no police or station officials showed up. No one had called 911.

The second incident was the day before writing this article. My bride, Joyce Swingle, another contributing writer for IFA, and I were walking home, talking about this article, when we heard a sound coming from a car. It sounded like someone was in the trunk and had hit or kicked the body of the car to let someone know they were in there! We quickly determined though the sound was coming from much further forward, and we later realized the frequent thumps were coming from the manhole cover underneath the car. Joyce called 911, and as we waited for the fire department to arrive, we observed dozens of others who had the same suspicion as we did. Some filmed it, but, as far as we know, no one else called 911. When the fire truck pulled up the lieutenant told me the city knew there was a short somewhere in their electricity grid. To find out where it was, they were sending a pulse at regular intervals. They rely upon people calling 911 reporting the thuds we’d heard to determine the location of the short. So, due to the bystander effect, that short could have gone unfixed for quite some time, based on the others who walked by without taking action.

We’re not the only ones who have experienced this. Another IFA contributing writer Gloria Robles, who is working on the companion prayer guide to this story, wrote:

Last week I was harassed by a guy in a pizza place. I called in an order because we were going to have a family day. There was nothing but male workers in the store and I wasn’t afraid or anything. I had no reason to be. This man came in trying to sell fruit cups (really a big thing here in San Antonio). I told him I didn’t have any cash on me (which was the truth). Anyway they got my order wrong so I was waiting. And he put his arm around my shoulder and pulled me in, squeezing me and smelling my hair and told me that I smelled good. I was pulling away and a bit freaked out.  I was so scared because he did it a second time, so I pulled away, but no one in the store cared. I was shaking out of extreme anger and fear by that point. I know that this is nothing compared to what the poor girl on the train must have felt, but maybe because I’m a woman if I saw another woman being harassed I would’ve said something. The times are changing, and all I could think about when I read what happened to that poor girl on the bus was a spirit of lawlessness. That blew my mind, but my heart aches for that girl. It really doesn’t help that our own government is defunding and undermining our law enforcement.

Living in New York City, where our mayor took a billion dollars away from the NY Police Department, we’ve certainly seen crime on the rise.

Pray for Good Samaritans

I was praying with a spiritual mentor over this article, and she pointed out the story of the Good Samaritan speaks into the bystander effect. The parable is told in Luke 10:25-37. When confronted with the question of what to do to inherit eternal life by an expert in the law, Jesus asks the man what is written in the law. The man replies, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” He’s referring to Deuteronomy 6:5, which is part of the Shema, two verses (starting with verse 4) which became part of daily prayers in the ancient Israelite tradition. Second, the man quotes Leviticus 19:18, “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

These two verses can sum up the two halves of the Ten Commandments. The first five deal with our relationship to God, and the second five about our relationship to other humans.

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” (Lk 10:28)

Then the expert in the law tries to justify himself: “And who is my neighbor?”

In response, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. The man was beat up, and a priest and then a Levite passed by without taking action. It was the Samaritan, the nemesis of the Jewish people who not only intervened, but gave of his own resources to help the man.

Thankfully there was a Good Samaritan in the Philadelphia train attack. Fox5NY reported: “An employee of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority who was in the vicinity as the train went past called police to report that ‘something wasn’t right’ with a woman aboard the train… SEPTA police waiting at the next stop found the woman and arrested a man. The woman was taken to a hospital.”

“She’s on the mend,” Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt of the Upper Darby Police Department said. “Hopefully she will get through this…. There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911.”

It may be that some of the onlookers chose not to get involved out of fear. The women may have been concerned that the attacker may turn on them. Because of the violence, the men may have feared they couldn’t overpower the assailant if he turned on them.

As believers in the Creator and Sustainer of life we shouldn’t hesitate to get involved, especially when the life of someone whose eternal destiny is unknown may be in jeopardy.

 

Have you experienced the bystander effect? Tell us your story and offer prayers for healing and boldness in the comments below…

 

Rich Swingle has taught and performed in 39 nations on six continents, mostly with his own one-man plays. He’s also performed in more than forty film projects. He and his bride, Joyce Swingle, another contributing writer for IFA, now have 37 screen children. The two of them live in New York City. www.RichDrama.com. Photo by Noah Cote on Unsplash.

Comments (13)

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Victoria Z
November 10, 2021

Father in the name of Jesus i pray for a lasting full, heavy, & complete Holy Spirit conviction to rest upon your true chosen people regarding any & all sins that may possibly be holding back us from walking in our full spiritual individual & governmental authority in the earth such that we can through your Spirit reach the lost & needy with the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, our Savior who promises that those who thirst can come to you and ask fir living waters & you will give it to them. Father i pray that you raise up your true anointed to reach & teach those who thirst for sin & gratification of the flesh, that you have promised to provide ALL our needs in Christ & that you alone can abundantly satisfy the spirit, soul, & even the flesh as The Psalmist cries out that even his flesh thirsts for you. Father I pray that your conviction would come to each of your chosen in such a divine way as to bring a deep revelation of all sin & compromise with a true sadness & complete regret for it & seeing how much Jesus suffered for our COMPLETE salvation including all the phases of it from conviction, repentance, cleansing, freedom & finally full manifested victory over ALL sin in this life, & attainment of everlasting glorious life with you, i pray this divine Holy Spirit experience would entice us & lead us to full lasting Godly repentance & full victory over sin, spiritual sloth, compromise turning us to You & your word earnestly & completely in spirit & truth to gain the living waters, the Godly one-on-one from You of wisdom, understanding, might, the proper fear of the Lord, discernment, discipline, discretion, revelation, & how to abide in you & in love toward you & others so that we sin not, Father i pray for unity among your chosen true worshippers including the other Abrahamic religions & all your chosen who are not religious but are seeking Truth & living lives of obedience to the true God given law of the conscience and love & i include those who are reaching out to a divine creator but are ignorant of your word regarding your name & identity as the God of Israel, the one true God, & your appointed True Messiah Jesus Christ, i include in this prayer that you draw us all into this Godly Holy Spirit revelation unity & awakening to teach the world once for all these holy truths that can only come through a divine Holy Spirit anointed revelation of your word which will fully & properly teach your word, your covenant of grace, your laws, statutes, judgments, and principals, such that there will be no more no more denominational or religious divisions or compromise, or misunderstandings, or false religions leaning on the arm of flesh or idolatry or in inadvertently trusting teachers or doctrines instead of You fully. Father we need these things in our day to overcome the evils of Communism, atheism, hedonism, sorcery, false religion, & all forms of debauchery and scoffing against God, against true holiness, true righteousness & true salvation in you so that the weapons of war of the nations will be turned into ploughshares, & the planting of the Good Seed of Your word & the pure & living waters to nourish & quench the thirst of the nations & cleanse us as well. Father reach & properly teach all who who were turned off to you by misunderstanding your word or people who claimed to be yours but who were in error, in religion instead of relationship with you, or living in compromise. Father i pray that this outpouring would lead your chosen to the spiritual & financial prosperity necessary to feed & clothe the poor as well so that the Socialists & needy will see that you oh God alone are the Divine Provider not government programs & subsidies so that all will look to you not government or the arm of flesh. Father cleanse and raise up your divinely appointed righteous government & leaders in all the nations, heal the nations Father & glorify Jesus Christ in us. i believe this prayer is word based & is the desire of your heart so that Jesus can be fully & accurately proclaimed & worshiped in all the earth in such a way that even your enemies will marvel & submit themselves to you, inJesus name we pray your will & WORD will cover the earth & bring lasting healing & true Holy Spirit revelation to the nations. Father may YOUR word & will be done in us & in all the earth & we call it done as your word proclaims & thank you for i

2
Kenneth Andrysiak
November 9, 2021

Forgive the perpetrator and the people that recorded the rape? Are you nuts? I have no intention of doing that!! What I DO have intention of is storming the courts of heaven and the seat of God and boldly requesting that the One who sees and knows all send His Spirit to convict these people of their sin & disobedience. Send angels appearing as humans!! Send human beings that have heard a word of knowledge to confront these people. Just like God sent the prophet to confront King David when he sinned against God and took what belonged to Uriah!! Send tormenting dreams!! Whatever it takes. Am I making myself clear??!!

14
    Victoria Z
    November 10, 2021

    Ultimately God forgave when there was manifested evidence of true repentance. i think that is the point you are making here Kenneth and biblically i agree with that, but even before Jesus saw manifested evidence of true repentance, while on the cross, he cried out to the Father to forgive those who did not know what they were doing. only God knows who knows and who doesnt know the gravity of thrir sin, and who knows & doesnt care, and those who know but who’s selfcontrol was swept away such that they succumb to the flesh & sin in a moment of extreme temptation. I got your point and i agree with your prayer to reach the guilty & in situation in such a way as to turn them to full Godly repentance.

    2
Cheryl Brunsting
November 9, 2021

You did the right thing in the moment. You discerned the problem, called for help and prayed. Your tears meant something to God and right now they mean something to me. I also feel very deeply the hearts and pain of others. It gives us the ability to sense a need and to act on it. I feel it an honor that God chose me to carry others’ burdens. Thank you for sharing that. As lawlessness increases, we must be willing to do what God calls and enables us to do. We cnnot do it all, buy we must do our part.

12
Iggy H-H
November 9, 2021

Last year I was in my car with my kids. Just me a mom and her kids driving home we were passing the downtown area where I live and school was out. I am at the traffic light waiting for the light to turn green. When I notice a bunch of teenagers huddled around talking like they are about to do something evil. Further up, there is one teenage boy walking alone. Suddenly, I see the mob of teens charge at this lone teenager. And I became maternal. If my kids weren’t in the car, I would have jumped out of the car and try to defend the youngman and get beat up, also. I felt so helpless I was crying. I quickly pulled my car over and called the police. In all this I almost forgot my kids were in the car. And then they asked me why am I crying? I told them that, that’s somebody’s child that is being beat up by a mob of teens and I’m here helpless all I could do is call the cops and pray. I couldn’t stay because my kids were there and I didn’t want to put them in danger. So we drove home, me in tears and I asked my kids to join me in prayer. I prayed to send out angels to protect that boy and I know Jesus did it. So I felt more at peace My kids being there might have saved my life because my first reaction was to get out the car and charge. I couldn’t have kids and I prayed for my miracles and God gave me my kids. So, Now with kids I have to think before I react. Before I was a mom, I was more impulsive now I have to do things with wisdom because my kids only have me. I do things so way different now.

21
    Julie
    November 9, 2021

    Iggy,

    You did exactly the right thing by calling 911 – and you also taught your children how to do the right thing. I LOVE how you asked them to join you in prayer once you were all safely at home.

    Just as an FYI, I volunteered with our local police dept for nearly 20 years, and we were taught to never confront a suspicious person, but to call 911 and let the police handle the situation. (Once, while walking my dog, I asked three men what they were doing hanging around outside a location across the street from my house. The answer they gave me was suspicious, so I went to a neighbor’s house out of sight, and called the police. They came with K9 units and arrested all three in the act of breaking and entering. Later, one officer patiently but firmly yelled at me to never do anything that dangerous again. He told me, YOU don’t question strangers, you call the police and WE question strangers! And of course, he was right.)

    So, calling 911 and safeguarding your children (and not confronting dangerous persons) was exactly the right call, and was the right thing to demonstrate for your children, as well.

    Bless you for caring!

    13
Julie
November 9, 2021

Isn’t this “depraved indifference?” (E.g., conduct “so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime.”)

Isn’t depraved indifference against the law? Why aren’t these callous bystanders charged when they post crimes they filmed on social media instead of calling 911?

What a sad, sad commentary on our society and how far we have fallen.

19
Susan CC
November 9, 2021

I consider the election of our current administration a nationwide experience in bystander effect. While a clearly incapable man was put forward and given the highest position in our nation, the world applauded. In this situation however, we are suffering abuse daily. As Gloria said, “it really doesn’t help that our own government is defunding and undermining our law enforcement.” But:

We love and serve the One God, there is NO other and God is an awesome God. Father, I praise Jesus Christ over all the hurt in this nation. I pray the healing power of Jesus Christ over apathy, crimes ignored, children abused, drugs, abortion, the border, anarchy, chronic illness, despair, wickedness…You know each need Abba Father. I urgently ask Father, for You to intercede in the lives of each one who suffers. I pray You make Your intercession personal and real, just as Jesus Christ was when He walked among mankind. May the praise of Jesus Christ fall like rain upon this nation and the nations of the world. Father, I humbly pray that You will heal us all. Amen

For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. Deuteronomy 10:17

O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary.
The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people.
Blessed be God! Psalm 68:35

Great is our Lord and abundant in strength;
His understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:5

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread? Psalm 27:1

33
    Julie
    November 9, 2021

    So true, Susan.

    And I blame the evil minds behind Big Tech (Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Buzzfeed Ben Smith, Jack Dorsey, et. al.,) and the demons driving social media for influencing bystanders to film crimes to post instead of calling 911. Just how divorced from reality ARE these bystanders?!

    Praying in agreement with you and all the IFA intercessors here, in Jesus’ might name!

    “To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’” ~ Acts 26:18

    25
Judith
November 9, 2021

Sobering and convicting. Thank you for leading me to pray before reading further. Let us suit up in our armor issued by God Himself and pray and act.

55

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