Ravi Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail for Alleged Cyberbullying

Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

Ravi Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail for Alleged Cyberbullying

The defense and prosecution have given their statements, the evidence has been examined, the jury has made its conviction and now, the judge has laid his sentence: Dharun Ravi, the college student accused of reportedly using a web cam to spy on his roommate and then stream footage online, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail, 300 hours of community service and counseling, and restitution in the form of a $10,000 fine. He begins his sentence on May 31.

For those who have not been paying close attention to the trial of Ravi, here is a brief recap. In 2010, the world stood aghast as 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, jumped to his death after being the victim of online bullying. It all came to a head when an intimate moment between Clementi and another male was surreptitiously taped by Ravi and streamed over the Internet. Since then, the trial of Ravi – who was convicted of bias intimidation, witness tampering, hindering arrest and numerous other charges – has charged forward at full steam, and much of the evidence that has been uncovered has been troubling. This past March, Ravi was found guilty of invasion of privacy and hate crimes that resulted in Tyler’s suicide.

This morning, as the 20-year-old was handed his sentence, he reportedly did not speak but let his mother do the talking for him.

"The media was ripping him apart with their misleading facts ... He was absolutely devastated and broken into pieces,” she said, referring to her son as "kind-hearted and loving," reported the Newark Star-Ledger.

Judge Glenn Berman told the court on Monday "I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi. He had no reason to, but I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity."

The case has evoked a flood emotions – from the individuals who feel Ravi deserves punishment and suffering for the pain he inflicted on Tyler to the others who muse he was merely an immature teenager at the time who should not be punished so severely.

But for the Clementi family, their sentiments came across loud and clear.

According to reports, Tyler’s father, Joseph, said of Ravi: “He had no call to do what he did. Tyler never did anything to Mr. Ravi to cause him harm." Ravi's actions were the result of his seeing Tyler "as someone not deserving basic human decency and respect, because my son was different from him [and] because he was gay,” he said.

Echoed Joseph’s wife, Jane, Ravi's actions were "mean-spirited, they are evil and, most important, they are against the law." She added, "The court needs to show ... this was not right, and it was not acceptable behavior, and it will not be tolerated."

While I must acknowledge that both families are hurting at this time, and that some might feel that Ravi’s sentencing is a bit harsh, it is every bit deserved – especially as we see that instances of cyberbullying and teenage suicide are becoming more common by the day.

In fact, stats show that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. And, for every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Every few weeks we hear of another student who either takes his/her life because of bullying or of a student who decides to finally fight back. But at what point can we curb this cycle? At what point will children finally understand that cyberbullying, and any form of victimization, is not only downright wrong, it can be illegal.

I hope that Ravi’s sentencing serves as a wakeup call to all the bullies out there that this behavior is not only highly upsetting, but illicit at times. The cycle needs to be broken at some point. Let’s hope that Ravi’s punishment is a step in the right direction.




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