Stooping to a new low, several men allegedly raped a 21-year-old woman in Uppsala, Sweden, and live-streamed the incident on Facebook. The video was put out in a closed group for 60,000 people to watch on January 21. According to Expressen, a Swedish news website, three men aged 18, 20 and 24 have been arrested so far. The woman was taken to the hospital after the police reached the crime scene.
The incident brings to fore the growing trend of fearlessly boasting about torturing people and animals on Facebook and other social media platforms, without any care of let alone humanity but even law and order. Previously, four youngsters – two men and two women – from Chicago had done something equally disturbing; beat up, assaulted and abused a man with special needs and then put the video on Facebook. The four of them were eventually arrested.
Unfortunately, this cringe-worthy behaviour is not restricted to the West, in India, people have ill-treated animals, shot videos and shared on social media. Two Chennai boys threw an innocent dog from a rooftop and posted the video on Facebook, the video went viral and good Samaritans made sure the two were put behind bars. A similar incident happened with a monkey. Though, things haven’t reached the point of live-streaming a molestation or rape video — yet, and we should probably be simultaneously thanking our stars and keeping our fingers crossed — but this particular video reflects on the psychotic and sadistic mindset of some out there.
According to media reports, many witnesses reported the crime and said a couple of armed men entered the woman’s house and assaulted her while streaming it live on Facebook. Witness Josefine Lundgren told Expressen, “He pulled her clothes off and lay on top of her.” Another witness Linda Johansson told SVT, “They put the girl in front of the camera, but the guy who filmed [her] tried to persuade her to deny she had been raped. He was putting the words in her mouth. He was extremely threatening and laughed throughout the film.”
An unnamed witness told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, “At first I thought it was a poorly orchestrated joke. Teen rapist who carved name in victim’s arm laughed as he left her for dead in graveyard. The first thing you think is ‘how can you do such a thing to a girl?’ And how can you do it live? It is totally sick.”
The police reportedly reached when the second broadcast was under way and has confirmed to Swedish media that they have a copy of the video. Facebook live videos, though are done in real time but stay on Facebook till they are taken down. The police suspect that the video may be saved on the Internet with multiple copies.
Reportedly, one of the men, in the video, told the woman, “You have been raped”.
All such incidents bring home a point to seriously and urgently consider — What prompts people to post such videos online? In the hope that the video will go viral and they’ll become famous? Back in 2014, Bridget Rubenking and Annie Lang from the University of Central Florida conducted a research on the consumption and sharing of disturbing media online. In an interview to The Huffington Post, Rubenking said something equally disturbing, “There is something very cool and social about disgust responses that we don’t see in regards to all different types of memes.” It is possibly this psychology that’s prompting the recurring mass broadcast of such barbaric and sadistic crimes without sensitivity or even fear of consequence – and going forward, as we spend more and more time on social media, this propensity to indulge in crime for fame and the surety of it being consumed is a more alarming sign of a psychologically disturbed society.
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