Passive Passengers

A woman was raped on a public train while passengers carried on


Photo by Steven M. Falk

Riders walk past SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line at the 15th Street stop. Transit authorities said a woman was raped this week on the train line and no one had called 911. (Steven M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

On Oct. 13, 2021, a woman was raped on a train for eight minutes with no public intervention. This took place near Philadelphia around 10 p.m. on a train that was traveling westbound on the Market-Frankford Line toward the 69th Street Transportation Center. The man was identified as 35-year-old Fiston Ngoy, all according to

The woman attempted to stop Ngoy from touching her and talking to her without consent, but she was unsuccessful. He then proceeded to rip her clothes off and raped her for those next eight minutes. The entire assault lasted forty minutes, and the only bystander who called 911 was an off-duty transit worker. Ngoy’s act was only put to a stop when a police officer ran onto the train and took Ngoy into custody, all according to

The woman was taken to a hospital while Ngoy is being held at the Delaware County Jail with charges of rape, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault without consent and other related crimes, all according to

After viewing the surveillance footage, Timothy Bernhardt, the superintendent of the Upper Darby Township Police Department, reported that it was clear passengers had a chance to intervene as there were enough of them to do something collectively. Instead of intervening, however, the passengers decided to take videos on their cellular devices. The passengers thought that this footage might be helpful in solving this case.

Bernhardt reports that any of the bystanders who recorded the assault could possibly face criminal charges. However, there has been misleading information about whether or not these passengers were bystanders or not. Some were not on the train during the entire duration of this assault. Therefore, they may not have known the full story and choose not to intervene because of this, according to

Experts say that some bystanders do not help the victims because they do not know how to intervene properly. Some may freeze up when they see something traumatic, there may be a weapon visible and the attacker may just seem way too powerful for the bystander to have any effect on the situation. This case ended the way it did because there was a lack of awareness about how to intervene, according to