A 16-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped on September 10th in Pitt Meadows, a small town half an hour East of Vancouver. It’s big news for a small town. But it’s becoming even bigger, because a 16-year-old male attending the unsupervised rave took photographs on his cellphone of the rape, sending them to his friends, as well as posting them on Facebook.
He was arrested for possession and distribution of child pornography, but that’s almost irrelevant—once something hits the internet, it’s game over. The local police themselves have already stated that while some measures can be taken, such as having Facebook remove photos or entire accounts, it’s impossible to trace all uploads. Copying image files on computer hard drives and the internet is incredibly easy, which means that this girl’s horrendous nightmare will not easily be forgotten: she will know people possess photographs of her being raped by five males. She will know they may very well be online, viewed by or sold to underground or black market pedophiles. It’s sick, but it’s reality.
Furthermore, a flurry of Facebook groups have been create in relation to this event, and many reveal the morbidity and neglect for human feelings that people display on the internet. Even when not anonymous, which is the common method, many Facebookers are going to the supportive pages to mock the event and doubt the trauma the girl has experienced. Plus, there are groups dedicated to the opposite effect, that favour the rapists and photographer.
What you say online is apt to stay online for years, if not decades, if not your lifetime. The same can be said for photos, or files of any kind, and that means this rape victim—and she’s most definitely not the only one this has happened to—will have a very difficult time forgetting.
It has been before discussed that Facebook and death are like water oil, they don’t mix. It’s surreal to see a suggestion that you “reconnect” with your now-dead friend on a social networking site. But what about those who must live with similar online issues? To go on Facebook and know people are mocking the fact you were gang raped? To know people possess photos of the worst moment in your life?
It’s a horrible shame that this poor girl was sexually brutalized. It is perhaps even worse that she must now live with haunting reminders forever.