I am writing a blog post about the Rutgers cyber bullying case as reported by CIS class student Alison.
A Rutgers student, Dharun Ravi, set up a webcam in order to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, who was conducting a homosexual relationship in their shared dorm room. He streamed his roommates encounter live on the internet. His roommate committed suicide when he learned he had been exposed.
Upon his roommates suicide, Ravi was arrested and charged with a hate crime. Ravi is seeking a not guilty verdict and rejected a plea deal that would have required 600 hours of community service and anti-bullying counseling.
It’s interesting that had his roommate not killed himself there wouldn’t be much to charge Ravi with. Perhaps Clementi would have been able to sue Ravi for libel or invasion of privacy. He certainly would have had some level of recourse open to him. Did he think there was no way justice could be found in the situation? Or was he simple embarassed to the point of mortification, unable to cope with the exposure and couldn’t continue.
There has been significant social progress for homosexuals and it’s not as stigmatizing to be gay in America as it once was. It may not be easy to be exposed, and clearly Clementi was the victim of a crime, I find it is suprising he found it nesecary to commit suicide. He may have been able to find the support he needed to continue his life and find acceptance in who he was. It is extremely unfortunate and saddening that he decided to take his own life.
An update on the case against Ravi. He was found guilty of hate crime and invasion of privacy.