Daniel Villarreal

In Defense of Tyler Clementi's Roommate, Dharun Ravi

Filed By Daniel Villarreal | March 15, 2012 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Dharun Ravi, in defense of, Rutgers spy cam, Rutgers University, spycam, Tyler Clementi

If 18-year-old Rutgers University Student Tyler Clementi hadn't killed himself after having his sexual exploits broadcast by his then roommate Dharun Ravi in 2010, Ravi wouldn't even be on trial today; all Ravi's actions would have been forgotten as college stupidity rather than elevated on the national stage as a symbol of centuries of deplorable anti-gay harassment deserving of a pyre... and that's what gets me most of all.

dharun-ravi-2.jpgThe LGBT community (along with other communities) want to make an example out of Ravi to deter future would-be anti-gay tormenters, when it's far more likely that Ravi is merely a cocky young douche who had no idea that broadcasting his roommate's kissing via webcam constituted a felony let alone 15 criminal charges relating to invasion of privacy and bias intimidation.

Keep in mind that up to the point that Clementi killed himself, he appeared normal to both his RA and to the readers at the Just Us Boys comment board where Clementi related the entire tale. Hours later, he jumped off the George Washington bridge.

To say that Ravi's broadcast alone compelled Clementi to suicide is to ignore the role depression plays in suicide, the fact that his own mother initially disliked news of his homosexuality and that his violin professor found him a mousy, insecure boy who lacked confidence; it ignores Clementi's self-will, his history and turns him into Ravi's marionette (ie. "I broadcasted you kissing a dude, so logically you must kill yourself.")

Did Ravi do wrong? Yes. Should he go to prison for over a decade where he will most likely get repeatedly beaten up and gang raped to pay for his crimes? Does that serve a greater interest in keeping gay people safe? Would you even give a shit about Ravi had Clementi not killed himself? Would you want Ravi to rot in prison under the same charges if Clementi were still alive today?

Because if Ravi is found guilty, we will in effect lose two young lives that could have effected great, positive change in this world instead of one.


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