Wow.
March 31, 2002 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Wow. (via Plastic) More info. here, if necessary.
posted by BlueTrain (70 comments total)
 
Blue Train, it's standard procedure to post a brief statement explaining what your link is about. As a woman, a little bit of warning before being confronted by a disturbing photo like that would have been appreciated.
posted by Jubey at 8:25 PM on March 31, 2002


I think it's good that this is receiving attention, and debate. Sexual assult at parties, especially things like mardi-gras and frat parties, does not receive enough attention in this country. This is a very powerful photo that captures the terror of the moment and dispells any of the "good ol' boy wink-wink-nudge-nudge good boys havin' good fun" excuses for this kind of behvior.

I'm curious as to what the 'wow' was at - the photo itself, the event, the fact that it won, or the controversy surrounding it?
posted by SpecialK at 8:26 PM on March 31, 2002


ugh. Can I resign my membership in the human race now? It's seeming like a bad group to be associated with.

Regarding the article, the photo should absolutely have been published. And the names of all the men in the image should be published. It's strange that images of dead children are somehow acceptable and this is not.

We need more independent cameras. The only hope for justice is multiplicity.
posted by joemaller at 8:28 PM on March 31, 2002


Wow, indeed.

Striking - and award-winning - photographs are often those of disturbing subjects, taken from a point of view that draws the viewer into the scene. Like, say, from above.
posted by yhbc at 8:31 PM on March 31, 2002


Can I resign too? I don't even know what to say about that person in the upper left who was fucking videotaping this. I do, however hope that every man in that photo's mother sees this.
posted by GriffX at 8:31 PM on March 31, 2002


i concur. i'm just really glad you can make out the faces of the assaulters.
posted by Dom at 8:33 PM on March 31, 2002


Often I've come out in defense of Mardi Gras-type events as "Dionysian revels" or whatever. But if it's gonna lead to this kind of meatheaded behavior consider my endorsement revoked. Healthy emracement of sexuality is one thing, the date-rape mentality is quite another, and it's something I don't wish to be associated iwth, thank you very much.
posted by jonmc at 8:34 PM on March 31, 2002


Hey, wait just a minute before we start castrating people here. So far, I see a photo and an editorial description. Is there a charge of sexual assault?
posted by yhbc at 8:40 PM on March 31, 2002


I don't even know what to say about that person in the upper left who was fucking videotaping this.

Ex-squeeze me? It's quite a common practice at Mardi Gras to have a camcorder with you. There's absolutely no reason to believe that that guy even knew what had happened, since T&A is a big part of MG.. the difference is, this was non-consenual groping.

Not only that, but what's the difference between the guy with the camcorder and the guy who took the picture? None, except that the other guy didn't get the prize ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 8:42 PM on March 31, 2002


I'm going to sound really naive, and probably even sexist (unintentionally), but...in this situation, aren't men supposed to do the EXACT opposite of what is occuring in this picture? I mean people, really, but, I'm sure these guys identify themselves as MEN pretty strongly. They probably all read Maxim and watch the Man Show, and would be pretty upset if you called them "gay." What the hell is my point? I guess it's that while american society is beginning to glorify the idea of the "Man," men seem to be acting less like "Men" all the time.

Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I'd like to think that I (and every other guy here) would have, rather than, ya know, inserting a finger in a free orifice, chosen to try to STOP what was going on. And yet, here are dozens of guys loving the whole thing.

I realize this post makes very little sense. I apologize in advance, and yet, I'm still going to post it.
posted by Doug at 8:46 PM on March 31, 2002


everyone looks so happy in that picture...

bah, if any of you can point me to wherever they're accepting those human race membership resignations, please do so.
posted by lotsofno at 8:50 PM on March 31, 2002


Is there a charge of sexual assault? - yhbc

from the second linked article - "In addition, the winning frame and several others were given to police to help identify perpetrators of the crime."

So, there's at least a chance. It reminds me of two of the other more sickening moments in the last 5 years, Woodstock '99 and the potential rapes that happened during that melee, and the horrible assaults that took place in Central Park a couple of years ago during a Puerto Rican festival, which was caught on video. That one was horrible even more b/c the cops wouldn't do anything, even after being told repeatedly what was going on. I hope they jail the pricks, so that they can get assaulted as well.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:55 PM on March 31, 2002


If the girl were screaming and struggling as it appears in the photo, that laughing and videotaping it from less than an arm's length away isn't really the appropriate response. I have a hard time believing that guy holding the camcorder didn't know what was happening, and he was certainly in a position to try to do something about it. That's the distinction, wackybrit.

And there's also a vast difference, yhbc, between what you linked to (someone who took her top off by choice) and what is portrayed in that photo (someone who is having it forceably removed).

Are you suggesting that if there's no charge of sexual assault that the sexual assault didn't happen? Maybe from a legal standpoint, but you and I can both see what's happening pretty clearly, given the evidence of the photo and testimony from the man that took it.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:01 PM on March 31, 2002


I wouldn't resign the human race membership just yet; just the male section. Women are abusive enough. That just about constitutes the limit of human behaviour. Men like these - and let's not pretend it's a carnival or drink thing - are just members of a sub-human gang which is almost exclusively male.

I think I understand Doug's comment perfectly. It's weird that, with so many other men there, these cowards and bullies weren't whipped to within an inch of their lives. But I give up. There are way too many guilty men involved to make any convincing defense of our gender.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:04 PM on March 31, 2002


Bluetrain, maybe you were right to post it without much comment, because I don't think I would have looked at it otherwise. When I did it was like a sudden slap across the face. This photo fills me with rage, sadness, incredulity and disgust. It needs to be seen, if only to show other women what these subhumans look like. I hate these men, I truly hate them.
posted by Tarrama at 9:06 PM on March 31, 2002


The single saving grace may be to warn people how normal and clean-cut these savages look. We've all seen how men change when they're in a group of other men. They become grosser and less like individuals. The booze and the crowd make them feel strong.

Tarrama: it's not "these" men. It wasn't a coincidence, as if all these savages accidentally came to be together. This is how a big proportion of men - I'd say 1 in 3 at least - behave when they've had a few drinks, feel protected by a pack of like-minded morons and find an easy victim.

It's all about hatred of women and fear of women and severe sexual repression. All commonplace, I'm afraid. Look at the happy faces and beware. It's the "Boobies!" culture in action.

This instance happened to be photographed; that's all.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:19 PM on March 31, 2002


Megosteve, I still don't know enough about what happened before this picture was taken (and after too, for that matter). Was this woman sitting on a park bench, reading the bus schedule, when she was swept off her feet, hoisted into the air, and stripped? Or was she drinking, bullshitting and coming on to one or a group of guys, when things got to the point of the photo?

After the shot, it may well be that the photo was turned over to the police for evidence, but did she swear out a complaint?
posted by yhbc at 9:23 PM on March 31, 2002


While this should never happen (girl getting that done to her), this doesn't just happen at MG. A lot of times at college parties, girls drinks are spiked w/ a LOT more alchohol than what they wanted, or are used to. So, the guy gets a girl to take a few shots or whatever, and before she knows it, she is WASTED...
I also had a friend down at Auburn who was rushing the PIKES (a fraternity)...for the rushees initiation, they had to date rape a girl (as in get her drunk as shit and have sex). Luckily, he walked out right there.
Lesson in all of this? Females, especially in college, need to be AWARE of that is going on, and stop crap like this even being able to happen (note: this isn't to say that ANY of the blame is removed from the assaulter).
posted by jmd82 at 9:26 PM on March 31, 2002


All commonplace, I'm afraid. Look at the happy faces and beware. It's the "Boobies!" culture in action.

I don't know about that miguel. The line between being an admirer of sexual females and being a groping meatheads is a thin one, to be sure, but the line is still there.
I think the ultimate service a heterosexual male could do is to try and demonstrate that it's possible to be a healthy girl-crazy male and pro-feminist at the same time. I'm struggling to do that myself.
posted by jonmc at 9:27 PM on March 31, 2002


Or was she drinking, bullshitting and coming on to one or a group of guys, when things got to the point of the photo?

What difference does that make? If a woman is drinking and flirting with you, that doesn't give you license to peel her top off. Sheesh.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:39 PM on March 31, 2002


Or was she drinking, bullshitting and coming on to one or a group of guys, when things got to the point of the photo?

when things got to the point of her having her clothes forcibly removed and being groped by strangers, you mean? or what the hell DO you mean?
posted by jessamyn at 9:45 PM on March 31, 2002


That is really disturbing
posted by sahrens428 at 9:53 PM on March 31, 2002


jonmc, I'm pretty much speaking out of my ass here, cause I've never met you, but you don't seem to be part of the "Boobies!" culture, as Miguel so eloquently phrased it. The line between admiring the female form and molesting a woman is pretty huge, in my opinion. You seem like the kind of guy who likes ladies. You also seem like the kind of guy who would never do something like this. Why not? I blame the "Boobies!" factor.
posted by Doug at 10:04 PM on March 31, 2002


yhbc: read the article next time.

The piece clearly states that when the woman was asked to lift her top, and when she refused, a group of guys decided to do it for her. And even if she had been drinking...etc, that's no excuse. Get your head out of the 50's.

This is another example of mob mentality at work. A lot of people talk about how polite the people of Seattle are. This should dispel that theory pretty fast.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:05 PM on March 31, 2002


I read the link. I still don't know if she DID have her clothes forcibly removed, etc. Yes, the picture is disturbing. But, is there any independent confirmation of the description of the event? The second link indicates that the woman was never identified. All I'm saying is that you can't convict people on the testimony of one photograph of a scene.
posted by yhbc at 10:11 PM on March 31, 2002


Hey isn't that Joseph Sabia? Oh that's right he's a virgin.


FOR THE LAST TIME GET YOUR OWN TOWEL
posted by Settle at 10:14 PM on March 31, 2002


doug - I've been known to hit the occasional porn site and I took some flak on here for defending strip clubs and mardi-gras type events. When I talk about being "girl-crazy" I mean that giddy feeling you get when a pretty girl smiles at you or a smart girl acknowledges your MeFi comments. This kinda crap is a whole other ballgame, and somehow the line seems to have gotten blurred. During the whole "boyzone" debacle the line between these two schools of thought seems to have gotten blurred, and I just wanted to make clear my disgust at these morons' behavior.
I do thank you for the clear understanding though.
posted by jonmc at 10:16 PM on March 31, 2002


The most mind boggling thing in my opinion is how would one even start to help this woman? I see the suggestion of starting to kick ass and take names, but are you really going to start a street brawl with a druken mob?

Of course the person taking these pictures is helping with tracking these people down, but what about if she was in danger of losing life or limb? It's frustrating to think that the best thing you could do is to watch someone get killed or maimed.
posted by betaray at 10:26 PM on March 31, 2002


....best thing you could do is to watch someone get killed

and I'm not sure how much you know about that particular Mardi Gras but that isn't a totally off-base assumption.
posted by jessamyn at 10:35 PM on March 31, 2002


The most mind boggling thing in my opinion is how would one even start to help this woman?

I'd settle for the courtesy of an anguished, concerned look of helplessness or maybe even a yell for help.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:53 PM on March 31, 2002


"A lot of people talk about how polite the people of Seattle are. This should dispel that theory pretty fast."

Yes. The actions of a drunken Mardi Gras mob should immediately dispel any thoughts of Seattlites being polite from a logical thinker's mind.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:18 PM on March 31, 2002


I don't even know what to say about that person in the upper left who was fucking videotaping this.

How is the guy videotaping this any worse then the guy who took the photo?

Or are you just stupid.
posted by delmoi at 11:37 PM on March 31, 2002


One thing about metafilter that has allways annoyed me is how emotional all you people are. Yes, it's unforunet that this girl was groped and if they can be found I am all for punishing the guys who did this apropriatly. However, I certanly don't see how this thing, amoungst all the other things in the world can be an indictment of all of humanity... or all of all men or whatever. People in mobs do things that they wouldn't otherwise do... and people are and have always been capable of great crulty.

This girl got felt up by a drunk mob. She'll live. Thousands of people each day arn't so lucky.
posted by delmoi at 11:47 PM on March 31, 2002


For those of you who want to blame this women, who think that maybe she was drinking, teasing them, "brought it on herself." There is a psychological concept called the "just-world hypothesis." This is the belief of many people that the world is fair, bad people punished and good people rewarded.

This women wasn't a bad person, and she didn't deserve this. No one would. The world isn't fair.

And delmoi-Have you ever been helpless? Truely known that you could be raped and killed and there wasn't a thing you could do about it? Humilated in front of lots of people? Yes, she'll live. But this hurt her, deeply. People shouldn't have to feel pain like this, and the fact that they do hurts me.
posted by stoneegg21 at 11:56 PM on March 31, 2002


delmoi--There is no reason that one cannot be affected by a photo where one person is having a wrong done to them. Just because it is emotionally horrifying but not physically bloody or graphic doesn't make it a less meaningful photo. People DO have wrongs done to them every day--this is one of them.

yhbc-"Was this woman sitting on a park bench, reading the bus schedule, when she was swept off her feet, hoisted into the air, and stripped? Or was she drinking, bullshitting and coming on to one or a group of guys, when things got to the point of the photo?"

This smacks dangerously close to the "She asked for it" argument in rape cases. "She was drunk and flirting with me--she asked for it;" "She was wearing a halter top--she asked for it;" "I have infantile fantasies that remain unfulfilled--she asked for it." I believe that this photo puts a pretty unflinching spotlight on how ghastly this act is--whether or not she was flirting with one--or many--of the men in the photo should not even be an issue. I would hope that both men and women are emotionally gripped by this photo, and don't resort to easy captions in their heads: "She asked for it."
posted by readymade at 12:15 AM on April 1, 2002


And delmoi-Have you ever been helpless?

Have you?

Obviously, I haven't been in that situation... and as a guy it would be pretty unlikely that I would ever be. I don't know how I would react. And on top of that, each individual person might react differently to the situation. One girl might be "scarred for life", and another might shrug it off.

Ask your self, would you rather be groped by a drunken mob or have your mother/husband/wife die of cancer? or die via a drunk driver?
posted by delmoi at 12:16 AM on April 1, 2002


One thing about metafilter that has allways annoyed me is how emotional all you people are.

*golf clap*

Yes, she'll live. But this hurt her, deeply.

Or maybe it didn't. They shouldn't have obscured her face, because doing so obscures her expression. Without her expression, you're just guessing at her feelings.

And you're not really comparing humiliation or feeling helpless to living your last day on earth, are you?
posted by David Dark at 12:21 AM on April 1, 2002


However, I certanly don't see how this thing, amoungst all the other things in the world can be an indictment of all of humanity... or all of all men or whatever.

well, you know, if this was a one-time incident - if this had never happened anywhere else - then people probably wouldn't be justified in urinating all over their human race membership cards.

but this is just one more example in an infinitely long line of examples of human cruelty. this is not isolated. this is just a reminder of what humans can and will do, despite the "ra ra ra! we're evolved" PR we're desperately trying to believe.

this is a reminder that we are no better, and much worse, than any other species on this planet. what makes it particularly horrible is the potential that human beings have; we can do so much more than any other species - and look what we use it for. all the capacity for art, for wisdom, for exploration of this world and the totally human world of thought - and a group of men somewhere in the US thought this was funny.

this isn't about men, and it's not about the US. it's about the singular capacity for cruelty that humans own; singular because we, alone, know better. and yet...

[note on previewing: I don't know any women people who would shrug this off. I don't know many people who are stupid enough to consider telling a rape victim to shrug it off, which is a good thing. many rape victims would rather have died than been raped; quicker, for one thing. and I do think that a man can understand rape - men can be raped - but often, they choose not to, for some unfathomable reason.]
posted by Nyx at 12:24 AM on April 1, 2002


damn, could I have hacked that last sentence any more? I mean, of course, that some men choose not to understand rape, not that men choose not to be raped. [since rape, by definition, means no choice. to say the obvious.]
posted by Nyx at 12:26 AM on April 1, 2002


The funny thing is this photograph is taken and it becomes uproarious. When indeed this happens at parties and get togethers, I would say epidemically. When I was young, I witnessed a like occurence. The fact that humans, MEN, fucking men, could altogether, en masse engage themselves in this horrifying display, absolutely sickens me.

Men absofuckinglutely suck! They rape, they lust, they place looks and sex appeal (by simply having a hole) over common humanity, they war, they back those warriors and the leaders who send those warriors off to death. Hello motherfucking Sparta!

I'm also a morally challenged atheist, you might note, that believes that we descended from monkeys and 'the only reason I'm here is because men have traditionally acted like this.' As Carl Sagan I believe wrote, "We are all, all of us, the products of rape of some sort." I paraphrase.
posted by crasspastor at 12:29 AM on April 1, 2002


Women aren't asexual mind you. A group of common women would never be caught 'on tape' doing this.
posted by crasspastor at 12:39 AM on April 1, 2002


Gawd that photo got me riled up.

As a man:

And yet it was somehow titlillating.

As a human:

What to do about human nature, coarse mammalian instinct?
posted by crasspastor at 12:44 AM on April 1, 2002


"Ask your self, would you rather be groped by a drunken mob or have your mother/husband/wife die of cancer? or die via a drunk driver?"

Okay, maybe I'm a sucker for a good troll, or maybe I'm a neophyte at this whole MeFi thing, but that seems a little disingenuous. How can YOU compare rape to cancer? Have you had one or the other? Both? Known people who've experienced one/other/both? I have. Do you want to know about it? Which one? How can you quantify tragedy? My tragedy is worse than your tragedy?

You may be playing devil's advocate, in which case, I am a fool and have been taken in. Ha.

If not, then I would be interested in exactly what you mean by the cancer vs. drunk driving vs. public rape equation.
posted by readymade at 12:48 AM on April 1, 2002


I'm with yhbc. The testimony of the guy who took the photo is not enough to convince me that assault is what's going on here. It's not clear to me that she's struggling, that she did not consent, or that the real reason her face is blurred isn't to conceal a facial expression that might not go along with the photographer's story. And looking at those guys' faces and body language...these are not men who have been caught up in some sort of neanderthal group rapist mentality. These are not angry, emasculated peons trying to reinforce the will of the patriarchy. The fact that not a single one of them looks the least bit tense, uneasy, or angry only disturbs me in the sense that it convinces me this "situation" is either a sham or the misinterpretation of the photographer.

That photographer, Mike Urban, has already come under fire for his deliberate misrepresentation of black men as the instigators of the Mardi Gras violence. Read that link, please. You can practically hear him squirm as he revises his story with each additional quote, in order to make himself sound more sensitive. View his oblivious, faux-perceptive mug here.
posted by bingo at 12:49 AM on April 1, 2002


I imagine the photographer explaining this to this to his/her close friends or family.

"so i saw this young woman, surrounded by a group of guys. then they started to lift her in the air and tear at her clothes, and grope her..."

"and what did you do?"

"i took a photograph, actually i took quite a few"

"oh so you didn't try to help her then?"

That's assuming this all happened the way the photographer says. There's something about the faces in that crowd that make me think they (at least) wouldn't think themselves party to a sexual assault.

Photos, are a momentary glimpse, anything could've been happening there, the photographers the only one who's able to narrate the photo. She could've been writhing in ecstacy.

[on preview, it seems bingo beat me to some of it]
posted by selton at 12:53 AM on April 1, 2002


Goddamn am I a puritan at heart. selton and bingo, you're also making quite a bit of sense.
posted by crasspastor at 1:01 AM on April 1, 2002


coming in kinda late...oh well...

anyway- I read the article that "bingo" linked too...I had no idea that Urban was a photojournalist...that changes a lot- his job was to document the evening's activity- he can't be bashed for doing so...hopefully, his photograph's have helped to put some of those scum-suckers behind bars...(of course, like mentioned above, I don't know what was really going on there- but, if the girl said she was sexually assaulted, I'll assume that is what happened and it is a sad affair.)


as for Urban coming under fire for "deliberate misrepresentation of black men as the instigators of the Mardi Gras violence"- I didn't read that anywhere in the article...he did change his description of those instigating violence, but the article wasn't indicting him for it...more like he was just used for commentary...

and- bashing the guy for his personal bio pic...c'mon...

my point: someone has to document the terrible manner that humans act towards and treat their fellow humans....hopefully, the documentation will stimulate change.
posted by ayukna at 1:53 AM on April 1, 2002


A few points:

1) Is that a woman at 1 o'clock in a denim top?

2) Bingo is correct that we really know very little of the actual context, level of consent, etc.

3) But that doesn't make it a shining moment to be proud of either.

4) Assume the worst is happening. What would it look like if one or more individuals was doing the right thing? They would not have their hand on a breast, but beyond that they would be indistinguishable in this picture from anyone else. You would have to get to the woman and bodily remove her from the scene. You would have to deal with her, not the crowd. You'd end up looking like just another mook in the picture.

5) Having a sensuous appreciation of the body is completely orthogonal to being a criminal. I completely reject MiguelCardoso's suggestion that this is the inevitable result of appreciating the body.
posted by NortonDC at 5:19 AM on April 1, 2002


I completely reject MiguelCardoso's suggestion that this is the inevitable result of appreciating the body.

NortonDC - if you insert "not" in your characterization of my opinion, that's correct. This is the inevitable result of not appreciating the body. That's what I meant by Boobies Culture.

Bodies are things with people attached to them. In Boobies Culture there are even websites which just show close-ups of boobies or pussies, with no face or even body attached.

People are sexy. Sex is sexy. Looking at disembodied boobies or just grabbing someone's boobies is pathetic.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:03 AM on April 1, 2002


Btw, I detect a clear symptom of boobies culture in some of the comments here: the undercurrent of questioning which would lead to the ubiquitous claim made in all porn spam - that she "asked for it"; she "wants it"; she "can't get enough"; she's "willing and waiting" and all the other empty, unimaginative fantasies that should have disappeared, along with the acne, around the age of sixteen.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:09 AM on April 1, 2002


Appreciating a part does not lead to denigrating the whole. Appreciating only a part is sad, but that is separate from the question of whether or not a particular part is appreciated.
posted by NortonDC at 6:58 AM on April 1, 2002


Those of you who think the photo might possibly be a harmless "grope" should take a look again at the men clawing at her crotch.

An incident that has always bothered me from my first year of college in 1985: a resident of another dorm told me he had participated in a "gang bang" the previous night where several guys took turns having sex with a female student. He didn't name any of the people involved other than himself.

From his description, she was severely intoxicated and he was proud of how repugnantly they treated her -- bragging that afterward, none of them were willing to walk her back to her dorm. I guess he was expecting my friends and I to high-five him at this point or express some other "way-to-go buddy," but the looks on the faces of my roommates and I made our disgust pretty clear and he left quickly.

In time, I recognized that the incident he described could have been rape, but I didn't have the courage to tell school officials about it.

This photo does a good job of explaining that situations can get out of control quickly when sex, booze, and large groups of men are involved. It ought to be handed out to women at freshmen orientation in college.

Does it indict all men? I hope not. We certainly could help our gender by making sure that people like the men in the photo -- and my acquaintance and his pals at college -- have to answer for their actions.
posted by rcade at 8:18 AM on April 1, 2002


If all we had was this picture, we wouldn't know for sure whether this woman was being assaulted or a willing participant in some sort of orgiastic celebration. The fact of the matter is, we don't just have a picture, we have an eyewitness to tell us the context of what was happening here. I kind of have to wonder at the agenda of those who want to call the eyewitness a liar, based on ... what? The men looked too cheerful, and we all know that sex offenders all look terribly guilty when they're acting like scum? The victim's face was obscured (by NPAA editors to protect the woman's privacy) , so it's a conspiracy to cover up that she was enjoying it? The photographer didn't have the guts to take on en entire mob by himself, so he's a liar (read the link from jessamyn)? I just don't get you guys.

delmoi - You're right that there are worse things than being stripped and groped by an out-of-control mob. I'm not sure that's really relevant here. If I get robbed at gunpoint and pistol-whipped, the last thing I want to hear is "It could have been worse, they could have cut off both your hands and burned down your house." I'll find my own sense of perspective, thank you very much.

As far as the whole "boobie culture" thing, I don't know. I like money, but I'm not tempted to rob banks at gunpoint. I appreciate beautiful women, but I'm not tempted to assault them. (In fact, I've put myself in harms way more than once protecting innocent victims of assault, though luckily I've never had to deal with a mob.)
posted by tdismukes at 8:39 AM on April 1, 2002


NortonDC, your first question (whether the person in the denim shirt is female) is the first one I asked myself when I saw the picture. If so, she sure seems to be enjoying herself, and would suggest that it might be too simplistic to label this a "male" problem as opposed to a "human" problem.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:48 AM on April 1, 2002


When I first saw the photo, before reading any of the text, I thought immediately of my one or two experiences with crowd-surfing up near the stage at rock concerts (let me be the first to say it: oh, well a girl who mixes with the crowd at a rock show is obviously asking for it! obviously deserves what she gets!)... which is fun for about twenty seconds, which as long as it takes for the first loser to reach up and shove a hand between your legs or squeeze your breast. These gropes are clearly differentiated from accidents---nice young music-loving men just trying to give you a boost along your way and accidentally getting a handful---no, you know when you're being felt up, and it's not like they're even bothering to try to be subtle about it anyway. The first offender just seems to plant the idea in the heads of some others, and at that point, your options are to drive your boots into male heads indiscriminately, or to get yourself down and stand on the sidelines like a good girl, watching the boys surf carefree.

I wish I could say that this photo was somehow surprising to me. To the contrary, it just felt like an unusually clear view of an ugly thing that's always around, just usually better-hidden. Maybe I'm too suspicious---but I'd rather be that than stripped naked by a grinning, grabbing crowd.

And as a side note, I just love it when boys go all "what's the big deal? could be worse" in reacting to these sorts of situations. I bet that's what a lot of the gropers in that photo were thinking too. She'll live.
posted by Sapphireblue at 9:08 AM on April 1, 2002


I don't know...seems like having that photo published would be like being raped all over again if I were that woman.

How utterly humiliating.

I hope the b****rds who picked that photo for a prize and published it are proud of themselves...and I hope when they go to bed at night they imagine how they would feel if that was their wife or girlfriend or daughter in that photo.

The only place that photograph should be seen is the police department and the courtroom.

One more thought....has any money been made off that picture?
posted by bunnyfire at 9:35 AM on April 1, 2002


I don't know...seems like having that photo published would be like being raped all over again if I were that woman.

How utterly humiliating.

I hope the b****rds who picked that photo for a prize and published it are proud of themselves...and I hope when they go to bed at night they imagine how they would feel if that was their wife or girlfriend or daughter in that photo.

The only place that photograph should be seen is the police department and the courtroom.

One more thought....has any money been made off that picture?
posted by bunnyfire at 9:35 AM on April 1, 2002


I guess I'm a sucker for a good troll, but delmoi - I'll answer your question:

I've been date-raped/assaulted 3 times.
I've been raped by a man who broke into my apartment.

I rather die or have a loved one die. The constant paranoia and overall distrust never really leave you. No matter how much time has passed. No matter how much therapy you've gotten. Hell, just reading these comments has brought me back to "that feeling", and I was last raped 13 years ago.

They call rape "Unfinished Murder". This is also the name of the book that was written about my "case". (He was a serial rapist). This is a very well-written book, the author is a former reporter who captured the essence and how this affects everyone involved.

And if you're just trolling, delmoi; you should be happy. You got a lot of us going.
posted by xena at 9:38 AM on April 1, 2002


xena:

Well, obviously I'm sorry that that happened to you. But I was commenting about being groped in a mob, not being raped in your own home.
posted by delmoi at 11:20 AM on April 1, 2002


Oh, btw. If you look at the picture carefully, you can see at least two cases of people who *might* be trying to stop it. The one dude in the lower left corner has his hands on the jacket on the guy in front of him. Pulling him back? Also, the guy in the hellow sweater or whatever (in the bottom center), has his hand on on someone's arm.

And I'm dissapointed GriffX or anyone else explained how the guy videotaping it was worse then the photographer.
posted by delmoi at 11:25 AM on April 1, 2002


But I was commenting about being groped in a mob, not being raped in your own home.

Is there a difference between the two of any significance that pertains to this discussion?
posted by adampsyche at 11:30 AM on April 1, 2002


God was pissed.
posted by brigita at 12:19 PM on April 1, 2002


delmoi--What is the difference between public sexual assault and private, in-your-house rape? I was at a party where a friend of mine was gang-raped off in a few bushes, party raging around her, by people we went to school with. Not as bad as in your own apartment by a stranger at knife point? Or worse? Is there a scale or a measure of some kind? And how is this better or worse than my friend dying of a heroin overdose after a long struggle with his addiction? Or the cancer that took my father-in-laws life at age 33, leaving behind a wife and two little kids?

True, women in the US aren't being rounded up and put into forced sex-camps like, say, Bosnia in the bad-old-days, but then very little of our experience is analogous.

Again, you've been asked for a follow-up to your opinions. I think xena laid out a fairly clear response to you comment, and I remain curious.

[I also recognize our inability to really know what is going on in this picture without a) background b) the expression on her face, but let's assume that it is what the photographer says it is for the sake of this part of the discussion. We also don't know what happened AFTER the photo: maybe she went home to eat Froot Loops, maybe she was raped in the corner by a few of the more aggressive gropers. Who knows?]
posted by readymade at 12:42 PM on April 1, 2002


I'll clarify my positions, too, since I disagree with what Delmoi's seem to be, although mine haven't changed.

If we do assume that what is really going on in the picture is what the photographer says it is, there should be no disagreement. The men (and women, if denim-shirt is one) in the picture have committed sexual assault and should be punished to the utmost of the law.

Let's go a step further, though. Even if we assume the opposite - that the photog misconstrued or misreported the nature of what is going on - that doesn't make what is hapening right, and I never intended to imply that it would. It would still be a boorish, dehumanizing objectification of a woman which all involved should be ashamed of, the perpetration of which only makes the least human of the male gender feel it is okay to go on to the next step.

I'm just saying that without knowing more than what we see in the picture, we can't tell which of the two examples of bad human behavior we are witnessing. If there's any follow-up to the event (the police have the photo, after all), I'd be interested in seeing it.
posted by yhbc at 1:13 PM on April 1, 2002


Sorry delmoi, you still haven't made your point clear to me on qualifying trauma. To even attempt to do so implies to me that you are, for whatever reason, distanced from the points others are trying to make here.

And as others have mentioned, we really don't know how the woman viewed this. Regardless of that fact, you are seeing objectification at it's strongest. And you're seeing how easily a "mob rules" mentality can take hold. And you're seeing how easily some common, ordinary-looking young men can lose sight of any values they were brought up with.

And I do believe all teenage or young college women should see this picture. It drives home a point that things can change in an instant.
posted by xena at 1:55 PM on April 1, 2002


Xena, I can agree with you-but i still think having this picture up on the internet for all to see is akin to a public rape...I talk to my teenage girls a lot about life. some of my life experiences have not been pretty...it kills me to have to kill their innocence in order to keep them safe. They are so naive...and naive is something that a woman just cannot be for long, in this world.
posted by bunnyfire at 2:27 PM on April 1, 2002


Well, first of all... let me say that I'm probably didn't see this as being all fine and not that big a deal. If what the photographer is saying is true, then the girl was probably terrified and felt out of control... if anything to me the "being held down and assulted" part is a lot worse then the "sexual" part. The guys who held her down forcibly removed her clothes should face some kind of jailtime.

What bothered me was such a huge deal you seemed to be making of this... the "all men are evil" crap. I mean, take for example the cop quoted in the artical linked above

"I'm not kidding, every time someone came out of the crowd who was a victim, he would be white. We'd ask, 'What did the assailant look like?' He'd say a black girl or a black guy. I was shocked. There was a hatred there. It's an ugly fact, but it's a fact."

So, in this very same situation, race issues aside, we had girls beating up guys. Is female violence against men somehow less important against male violence against women? Does the sexual component really make that much of a diffrence. If a man was held down and beaten by women, well I wouldn't say they were equivilent, but it could come close... and if serious physical harm were done it might even be worse, it would depend.

delmoi--What is the difference between public sexual assault and private, in-your-house rape?



The diffrence is that someone raped in a rampaging drunk fratboy mob is going to feel afraid in rampaging drunk fratboy mobs. Which, I mean, that is dangerous. A person raped in her home might never feel safe again, as xena mentioned.


I was at a party where a friend of mine was gang-raped off in a few bushes, party raging around her, by people we went to school with. Not as bad as in your own apartment by a stranger at knife point? Or worse? Is there a scale or a measure of some kind?


Of course there is a scale or mesure. Just ask yourself which would you rather have to go through. I'd rather be gang raped by some gay fratboys (if there is such a thing) then at knifepoint... I mean I wouldn't have to worry about being murdered, and I wouldn't have to feel afraid in my home.

...I also recognize our inability to really know what is going on in this picture without a) background b) the expression on her face, but let's assume that it is what the photographer says it is for the sake of this part of the discussion.

Yeh, the guy who said ""I'll tell you, every fight I saw was instigated by small groups, of between three to eight, of young black males--that's a fact,", even though most of the hands on the girl where white... okay (maybe he didn't consider this a 'fight'?)

Anyway. My only point is that it just bothers me when people here make this sweeping and idiotic statements about various things on mefi, ("all men suck"), or ("god was pissed", yeh of all the things in the world for god to be pissed about, this particular chick getting molested was one of 'em... since god only gets his news off the net and only cares about america I guess).

If you want to belive I'm a troll, knock yourself.
posted by delmoi at 3:39 PM on April 1, 2002


Upon closer inspection of the photograph, I think there is a telling clue that I missed last night. I'm looking at this picture and thinking, "What does her body language say? Where are her arms and legs?" I can't really make out any legs. But arms...

Look at the guy in the black windbreaker who's head is at 2 o'clock. Look what he's doing with his right hand. He's grabbing an arm, under the forearm at the elbow, and the position of his hand suggests that he's pulling that arm away from her body. If you start near her head and can make out her right shoulder, doesn't it appear to be her arm that he's grabbing? This suggests to me that she's making an effort to grab the hands groping at her right breast, to pull them away, and this guy is preventing her from doing that.

If it's not her arm, you could make the case that this guy is trying to help her out, pulling a random arm away from her body, but then look at his left arm. It's totally relaxed, just hanging there limp, so if he's trying to help her, he's doing a pretty shitty job of it. No, I'm pretty sure that's her arm being pulled away, and I'm also now pretty sure that under that blurring is nothing if not a panicked cry for help.
posted by David Dark at 4:14 PM on April 1, 2002


As tdismukes already said, just because something else could be worse doesn't mean rape or assault is no big deal. The primary thing is the domination, the control: someone stronger than you, or a group of people, are forcing your body to do something you as a free agent do not want to do. But you are powerless to stop it from happening. Being naked and being sexually involved are generally things that are enjoyed precisely because they are moments of freedom, of following desires and just enjoying your body - but when your agency is stolen from you, and you are made to feel humiliated, and your body is treated as an object to be enjoyed by others rather than the outward expression of your person, these intimate moments can, I imagine, become horrifying. I've never gone through this myself, and I would certainly never choose death or the death of a loved one over my own rape (I imagine being able to get over it & move on), but I can still see why it would be traumatic.

I think sapphireblue's example of living with a female body was a great illustration: as a woman, your body is seen firstly as object, secondly as subject, to much of the world. Men tend to be recognized as subjects immediately.
posted by mdn at 10:19 PM on April 1, 2002


i know i am a little late for this one-

i dont think any other photo has evoked such a strong emotional response from me. i witness images of corpses with morbid anatomical curiosity on a weekly basis [thanks to Time magazine, among other publications], but they just show the results, the outcome, not the means- this photo gives faces to all the violence and death i am so desensitised to, caught in the very act.

one point that hasn't been raised is that one or more of the males there most probably knew the girl, as friend, relative, or significant other.

"he" either is one of the gleeful perpetrators, or a truly hopeless bystander unwilling to take on a mob.

this is the heaviest aspect of the image to me- the hopelessness of the victim, her close friend [if he/she is there], and the photographer combined.
posted by elphTeq at 1:37 AM on April 2, 2002


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