It seems if you get sexually assaulted these days, you have a fairly good chance of the whole thing being put online. From Steubenville to Maryville, the trend of videotaping sexual assaults for the world to see is an incredibly disturbing one. But what of this alleged sexual assault? In this case, the alleged perpetrator didn't videotape it -- bystanders did! They then reportedly live-tweeted it, with one even trying to sell it to a site that publishes "revenge" porn. What has the world come to?!!
In the pictures, a 20-year-old female student outside a college homecoming celebration at Ohio University is seen being given oral sex by a man. Another man stands by watching. Dozens of witnesses took photos and even a video of the attack and tweeted them.
She reported the attack the next day, saying she doesn't remember anything that happened and only knew what had gone on after seeing her own pictures online. How horrifying! Though as the lead investigator says, "It also assisted us in our investigation." So I guess there's a small upside to having your sexual assault videotaped!!
The shocking thing is that not one person tried to intervene. However, this might not be as horrific as it sounds. Looking at the photo, I'm not certain I would have thought this was a rape. I probably would have assumed the man and the woman were a couple, knew each other, and had had way too much to drink. I am not certain I would have assumed that any man would assault a woman in front of so many people.
But, of course, it happens. All it would have taken is one person asking, "Are you okay? Do you need help?" But who knows if she would have answered. Someone could have called the police just to be safe, but the bystanders were probably drunk too.
As for the woman, it's unclear what happened -- was she drunk? Had she been drugged?
I remember seeing a passed out woman being carried by two men past me when I was much younger and visiting New Orleans. It flashed in my mind, "Is she okay? Are those her friends?" And then the woman was gone. It still haunts me whether the girl was in trouble or not, and whether I should have called police. I know better now. Recently, I saw a teenage boy on top of a teen girl on the hood of a car -- she was screaming. I yelled over several times, "Are you okay? Do you need help?" She finally heard me, looked at me blankly, laughed, and said, "No." Apparently she and the boy were just having fun. But how would I know?
As for the bystanders of this assault, I'm not convinced it occurred to them that this was allegedly a rape. But there's no excuse for videotaping and tweeting it. I have the sinking feeling we are becoming -- or HAVE become -- the society that would sooner take pictures of a murder to post on our blogs and Twitter accounts than do something about it.
Would you have called the police?