rape in the not so virtual reality

Two concepts are slowly merging into one and becoming more and more obvious for the most oblivious among us.

Virtual reality was mentioned for the first time way back in the XXth century.
In 1938, Antonin Artaud described the illusory nature of characters and objects in the theatre as “la réalité virtuelle” in a collection of essays, Le Théâtre et son double. The English translation of this book, published in 1958 as The Theater and its Double,[2] is the earliest published use of the term “virtual reality”.
Nowadays the concept has been widened to cover a lot more than what’s happening inside the theaters.
In fact, the technology used to create VR is able to transform everyplace in a stage, everybody in an actor and to broadcast everything almost everywhere.

The other concept I was mentioning at the beginning of my post is a lesser known one.
The Social Construction of Reality“, published in 1966 by Peter L Berger and Thomas Luckmann eloquently explains how various groups of people collectively adapt their historically accrued habits (cultures) to the ever-changing surrounding reality. One of the sources of change being human activity itself.

The latest, that I heard of, addition to the realm of the not so virtual anymore reality is Periscope. A mobile app that lets its user broadcast, live, whatever he/she deems interesting enough from what is taking place around him/her. What is broadcast has a ‘shelf live’ of 24 hours but can be deleted at wish or made permanent. Also the sharing ‘voyeur’ has control over the audience, it can be set as ‘public’ or ‘private’ – and broadcast only to a selected few.

Some days ago two female high-school students and friends, one 18 and the other 17, met a 29 male in a Columbus, Ohio, mall. He bought them a bottle of vodka and “encouraged them to meet him the following day“.
The girls ‘honored’ the invitation, the three  ‘socialized’ for a while – read “had all been drinking“, and then the male proceeded to raping the youngest of the girls.
The older one live-streamed the rape using Periscope.

The case came to light when authorities were contacted after an out-of-state friend of the woman saw the images, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said.

It is not unusual for a rape to remain unreported by the victim. It’s not OK, but it happens.
Also it is not that unusual for a rape to remain unreported even after friends or relatives of the victim learn of the event. Again, it is not OK but it is known to have happened before.

Yet this is the first time that I’ve heard of a rape that had taken place practically in public and which wasn’t reported ‘live’ to the police.

‘She does everything possible to contain the situation even to the point of asking while it’s being filmed to these Periscope followers, “What should I do now? What should I do now?”‘ Shamansky said.” Shamansky being a lawyer for the older girl, who is currently charged with rape, alongside the male perpetrator.
Separately, she is being charged with “illegal use of a minor in a nudity-oriented material or performanceforlivestreaming her friend nude the day before the assault“.

And how did the viewers react to the broadcast? Except for the “out-of-state friend of the woman” who reported the incident, of course?

Here’s the prosecutor’s side of the story:

O’Brien said Lonina is seen trying to help only briefly during the 10-minute video. O’Brien said the victim was clearly screaming ‘stop’ and ‘no’ during the assault.
Although Lonina told police she was trying to record the assault as evidence, her behavior as people watching via Periscope ‘liked’ the assault painted a different picture, O’Brien said.

‘She got, I guess, taken up with all the “likes” that her livestream was getting and therefore continued to do it, and did nothing to aid the victim,’ O’Brien said.

I don’t know what, or even if, she could have done anything in a really effective manner – remember that all three had been drinking – but I know for sure that at least some people were watching the live stream. The ones “liking” it.

I still cannot understand how come all of them failed to call 911.

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