DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK: Rutgers Students Dharun Ravi And Molly Wei

October 1st, 2010 | 25 comments | Posted by Jen

By now you’ve all heard of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington bridge to his death last week. He was 18 years old, a talented violinist in his first month of college, and he was gay. We presume that last fact made it okay, in his roommate Dharun Ravi’s mind, for Ravi to secretly install a webcam in the room they shared. From the computer of Molly Wei, Ravi’s high school classmate and fellow Rutgers freshman, a sexual encounter Clementi had with another man was then livestreamed by Ravi and Wei onto the Internet. Ravi even tweeted it, from an account that has been deleted.

via Queerty

Three days later, Clementi killed himself. Ravi and Wei have since been charged with two counts of invasion of privacy for the incident described, and Ravi has been charged with two additional counts for attempting to record another one of Clementi’s encounters the day before his suicide. Prosecutors are also weighing whether or not to charge Ravi and Wei with a hate crime.

In an interview with CNN, Raj Ardeshna, 17, a former classmate of both Ravi and Wei, attempted to explain why two “terrific people” would do such a thing.

“To know that two intelligent kids could get caught up in something like this is shocking to me,” Ardeshna said. “The only rationale I’ve been able to come up with is that they thought they were being funny — but I really couldn’t tell you.”

The sad thing is, he’s probably right. They thought they were being funny. Because gay sex is hilarious. They don’t call it “gay” for nothing, right? It’s not only funny ha-ha, it’s also funny in that other way–oh what’s the word?–queer. As in “strange.” As in it’s-so-strange-the-same-rules-don’t-apply-to-those-funny-people. Like rules we have about privacy and serving in the military and marriage. Because gay sex is just too funny to be taken seriously.

If Ravi and Wei thought a classmate having gay sex was such a laugh riot, they’re not going to believe the funny business prison has in store for them.

Each faces up to five years if convicted.

[HuffPo: Rutgers Student Believed To Have Committed Suicide After Classmates Allegedly Recorded Him In Gay Sexual Encounter]
[CNN: Prosecutor: Bias charges may come in webcast of sexual encounter]

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25 Responses to “DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK: Rutgers Students Dharun Ravi And Molly Wei”

  1. Diana says:

    Everything about this makes me sick.

  2. BusyDad says:

    I usually avoid prison sex jokes, but… I really think they should install a webcam in Dharun’s cell.

  3. dalianmoon says:

    They deserve so much worse than what’s they’re going to get. Five years?! That’s bullshit! The way I see it, they are responsible for a death. They either deserve a slow, painful, tortured life sentence or a slow, agonizing death sentence. Only the worst for those two.

  4. Shayera says:

    This story makes me so sick. And ashamed. I just keep wanting to say “not all Indians are like Ravi! Most of us aren’t haters.”

  5. Ariel says:

    This is really sad.

    Yes, they should be punished and held fully responsible for their actions. It is extremely likely, if not certain, that what Molly and Dharun did lead to Tyler Clementi’s decision to commit suicide. However, I think it’s really an exaggeration to say that they killed him.

    I think that a reasonable person would conclude that had they known their actions would lead to Tyler’s death, they would have stopped and realized how awful and disgusting what they did was. There’s no excuse for their actions– they are 18 and made their own choices…but they are also still teenagers fresh out of high school. I think it’s unfair to demonize them.

    In effect, if they go to jail for the rest of their lives, we have three lives lost and ruined instead of one. I just hope this makes other people think twice before they do stuff like this, otherwise this all will have happened for nothing.

  6. rsyche says:

    As an asian myself, I am ashamed of these two, who clearly lack the moral character and intelligence that most of my race possess. They “thought they were being funny?”. Most evil people who do evil things give the same excuse!

  7. Jenny Rain says:

    These two make James Lee (Discovery Channel Bomber) look like Martha Stewart. Very sad and very hateful. I posted about them as well: http://marginallyinsane.com/2010/10/01/two-asian-kids-bully-gay-roommate-into-suicide-hate-orade-drinkers/

    At least prison bars will keep their hardass Asian parents from beating their asses red for ruining their own college careers.

  8. Jen says:

    Love your style, Jenny Rain.

  9. cDonnaF says:

    Diana says: Everything about this makes me sick.

    Me too. Me too.

    Oh, God, may this change at least one person’s mind. May this save at least one person’s life.

  10. Hello Kitty says:

    To Dharun and Molly,

    “Use your brain and do not embarrass your parents. Thank you.”

  11. xandersaide says:

    Oh Ariel, and does this ‘reasonable person’ also get to have the luxury of ignorance to blame for any pain and death their actions cause?
    I was once 18 and fresh out of high school, and I once caused a lot of pain as well. And I suffered the consequences–as I deserved to.

    These two have never had to understand what a struggle it is to grow up in a world where who they are, part of their flesh and veins, is demonized.

    Its sad, because as well educated minorities themselves, they had a better shot at actually having the linguistic tools and knowledge to discuss and understand the ‘other’.

    They didn’t realize how awful and disgusting their actions were–and they didn’t have to–how grand for them. So they get a pass because they’re young? At some point we all have to take responsibility for our actions and stop blaming society, parents, or environment. Adults are responsible for educating themselves, and eliminating their own ignorance. As Rutgers students they clearly had access to more than most.
    Lock them away, they need to suffer. Maybe then they’ll get a taste of the hell that drove that poor boy to let go of the handrail.

  12. Fredric Delmais says:

    You presume in your post that Tyler Clementi was gay. College at 18 is a time for formal learning and learning who you are. He may have been gay or not. He may have felt that with his alleged invasion of privacy that the decision was made for him. But he had not made that decision yet. I live in NJ so no comment on the guilt or punishment of the accused. ( I may be a juror).

  13. JenJ says:

    These guys went to my high school. Just… wow. There are a lot of confused and shocked people in my community right now.

  14. Jen says:

    @Fredric Yes, I presumed that Tyler Clementi was gay. Based on what a fellow student who lived next door to Clementi and Ravi told a CNN affiliate, a quote from Clementi’s Facebook page, and the fact that someone posted about what appears to be an identical incident of privacy invasion on JustUsBoys.com the day before Clementi died and that that user has been traced back to Rutgers and may well have been Clementi. But presume I did. Please forgive, our presumption-checker is currently away on vacation.

  15. weissman says:

    This may be an un popular comment, but to think that the web post from Mr. Ravi and Ms. Wei was the sole reason for Mr. Clementi to take his own life is giving a lot more weight to that one incident then it actually had. Not to forgive what Mr. Ravi and Ms Wei did but I am sure Mr. Clemento had serious problems that, may or may not have been due to his sexuality, that had been festering for quite a while. If Mr. Climenti was in so much danger of hurting himself where was his parents, doid they have no clue. Don’t they share some of them blame. The “tryst” Mr Clementi had in his room prior to this incident, could that or the individual he had the tryst with been a causal factor. I think a lot of people are laying the blame soly on Mr. Ravi and Ms. Wei and while what they did was certianly wrong I find it hard to believ that the total blame lies with them.

  16. weissman says:

    At worst Mr. Ravi and Ms. Wei violated Mr. Clementi privacy, they will most likely get probabtion and community service of some kind (lets be realistic guys). I strongly doubt either will get jail time, this wasn’t a hate crime. They are both first time offenders and if Mr. Clementi had not killed himself the whole incident would have turned into a collage prank and nothing more.

  17. BlasianBytch says:

    This is my alma mater and were I might be attending for my MFA. I have to say Rutgers does a crap job of handling matters such as this.

    Something similar to this happened on the newark campus where one of the writers of the school paper was victimized by a website that she wrote about who posted pictures obtained from her web camera that leeched and she wasn’t aware she was being filmed.

    Of course you never hear about that…or the other Rutgers Sex tapes circulating on campus because no one died. I’m pretty sure Ravi and Wei thought they would get away with it because at least 4 other students have gotten away with no repercussions for doing the same thing and those secretly and some not so secretly made sex tapes have been downloaded hundreds of times.

    I’m interested to know how many people actually saw Clementi vs the others. I mean this message was on twitter yes, but Ravi had less than 150 followers, and I’m wondering how many of them could and did Ichat with him to see it?

    I think the Rutgers response to this has also been pretty week. They emailed everyone a letter about “respecting each other” but it was all total fluff.

  18. BlasianBytch says:

    oh and @ Jenny Rain how does doing something cruel but with out the intent of killing someone make you worst than someone that went out to kill and harm people who was open about his intent to get rid of children?

  19. yellOHpride says:

    God help these two when they get sent to prison. I am with BusyDad and hope that someone webcams their jail cells.

    As for their age and the responsibility for their actions — I believe that at 18 you are definitely capable of recognizing what you are doing and what the consequences might be from those actions. Whether you decide to acknowledge them or not is the difference but that doesn’t mean that you get a “get-away free” ticket for ignorance. Nobody does.

    And honestly, I do believe they both have a huge part in the loss of Tyler’s life. Although it’s all circumstantial and that can never be truly proven, if it were… I would want them in jail for murder. They should know that there is blood on their hands.

    We are so quick to dismiss marginally bad behaviors in our society (except for the awesomeness of Jen and Diana on this blog) and that is the reason why this still continues. Do you want to know why bullying is still such a huge and unforgiving problem? Because of the parents that see their children as the bully on the playground that say “Oh, Jimmy just had too much sugar. Don’t hit Jimmy!” and then laugh it off like it’s just Jimmy being a kid or Jimmy being a boy.

    But then Jimmy doesn’t learn consequences for his marginally bad behavior and he doesn’t learn about self-respect or respect for others and about compassion. He then grows up to be a Ravi or a Molly or one of those kids who bullied that little girl who killed herself earlier this year or anyone of the kids who think it’s “okay” and “normal” to ostracize and make fun of someone because they are different.

    It’s just all incredibly sad.

  20. Cindy says:

    This kind of incident is more than sufficient reason for someone to want to commit suicide, especially someone still in the impulsivity of their late teens. It is entirely possible for Clementi to believe that this was the absolute worse thing that could EVER happen to him.

    @weissman made the comment: “If Mr. Clementi was in so much danger of hurting himself where was his parents, did they have no clue.” It is even more likely that his parents finding out was what he feared most. It is still true that the greatest risk for many gays/lesbians is in that moment of coming out to their families. Not everyone has a parent/sibling who is going to love them regardless. For many of us, the worst hate and demonization comes FROM our families. So I, for one, will not dismiss this as just a horrible embarrassing moment. In Clementi’s mind it was life shattering and for all we know it very well may have been. He certainly believed it was.

  21. Rococco says:

    Lynch mob unite! Blood for blood!

    Seriously though, while certainly these two have done something terrible. But before you urge the hangman to pull that lever, consider whether your reaction would be same if the headline read “Two Rutgers students broadcast film of boyfriend and girlfriend having sex; the young couple sues.”

    This is a tragedy beyond words. And yet, shall we fall into the same folly we blame the two for? Are _we_ angrier because the victim was a homosexual?

    The many sides of bigotry….

    They should be punished, but no more and no less than any other creep who films another having sex and broadcasts it without consent of the filmed.

    The act is what we seek to punish, not the result.

  22. Jen says:

    @Rococco Your example, “Two Rutgers students broadcast film of boyfriend and girlfriend having sex; the young couple sues,” isn’t a parallel to this incident at all. “Two Rutgers students broadcast film of boyfriend and girlfriend having sex; the girl kills herself three days after the broadcast” is closer. I don’t think people are angrier because Tyler Clementi might have been gay; there’s been plenty of outrage over the suicides of heterosexual teen girls that were thought to have been caused by bullying and cyberbullying (see Phoebe Prince and Jessica Logan).

    People are angry, however, because this incident highlights a real problem gays and lesbians of Clementi’s age are dealing with in this country. Recent studies show that a quarter to half of LGBT college students are harassed based on their sexual orientation. And it’s this kind of harassment that accounts for LGBT teens and young adults having some of the highest rates of suicide attempts among their peers.

  23. Rococco says:

    @Jen I will agree that my analogy may be skewed, but my main point still stands. Let me clear some things up:

    1) I absolutely think that these losers should be punished for invasion of privacy and cyberbullying. I do not think the outrage and anger felt at this crime fits the punishment under the current law. Should these two kids be left to rot in jail for 5 years to be mentally and physically abused just to satisfy society’s lust for lynch mob justice? Are we under a system where we punish the outcomes of a person’s crime rather than the action of the crime itself? And more importantly, will prosecuting and sentencing these two kids under MANSLAUGHTER bring Tyler Clementi back or help heal the community they damaged?

    2) I do not think these two ever thought that their careless prank would end in the death of their fellow students. I believe they are decent, intelligent human beings (shit, they got accepted into Rutgers) who made a terrible decision and now have to live with the consequences for their entire lives. I know I’ve done some pretty regrettable things when I was in college. Really, I don’t think they spend their free time drawing swastikas on the quad. Hell, they probably volunteer their weekends playing bingo with senior citizens at a nursing home.

    3) I feel for the victim and his family, but making Tyler Clementi a martyr and using the two perps as scapegoats will not solve the rampant homophobia present in our society. Unfortunately, cyberbullying does happen and we can never predict the consequences or punish enough people to nullify its effects. The best thing we can do is to learn from this experience and try to prevent it from happening again. How?

    4) Wanna help relieve poverty? Give that homeless person a ride to store and talk to him while you pay for his groceries. Wanna help get rid of the prejudice against LGBTs? Stand up for your gay friends, hang out with them, and tell them you love them. Don’t just foam at the mouth, bitter with outrage, crying for severe punishment for a crime after the fact. Listen. Feel. And take some goddamn action. Above all, never underestimate the power of forgiveness and moving forward to make the world a better place.

  24. Jen says:

    @Rococco 5 years is the maximum sentence for the invasion of privacy charges that have been brought against Ravi and Wei. By your reasoning–”The act is what we seek to punish, not the result”–and by current legal standards, how is that unfair? They haven’t been charged with manslaughter and they certainly won’t be. I personally don’t believe in those charges either.

    Do you know what’s going to solve, as you say, “rampant homophobia” in this country? Recognizing where it exists, even in its most casual form. Like in careless, college pranks. I agree with you that Ravi and Wei could not have foreseen this outcome. But if we’re going to speculate about their motives, I’ll say with certainty that they wouldn’t have done this had Clementi not been gay. Think about it. Ravi’s a straight 18 year-old dude in his first month of college. What do straight 18 year-old dudes in their first month of college want to do? Get laid. No chick is going to fuck some perv who films their roommate having sex with another chick and then streams it on the internet. Social mores just don’t allow for that, it’s too pervy and gross. Ravi knew that. But when it’s your roommate having sex with another dude…then it’s funny! You can put it on Twitter! Because homophobia is more socially acceptable. Their legal punishment aside, it’s not scapegoating to say that homophobia played a role in this incident and informed their actions.

  25. Cindy says:

    @Jen Thank you now and always for standing up for your gay friends. …that goes for you too Diana!
    xoxoxo to you both!

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