Raped on camera: the new snuff film?

More and more incidents of rape caught on camera shows a shift in how society now views human suffering. Is it all just a game and are we ever more than just characters in this game called life?

Wikipedia defines a snuff film as: “A movie in a purported genre of movies in which an actor is actually murdered or commits suicide.”

When I was a teenager I watched Mute Witness, a film about a mute girl who witnesses a brutal murder in the form of a Russian porn snuff film. Back then this made me think about why and how someone could possibly get their rocks off by watching someone else suffer in this way.

Yet, the trend of watching live executions online started in just after 9/11. Now it’s ISIS. But what about watching rapes? Is this not just as bad?

Many see snuff films as a mere urban legend. Yet, with the help of the internet, showing gruesome acts to a mass audience has never been this easy.

In 2012 drunk high school students witnessed the sexual assault of a girl one night in the football town ofSteubenville High School. Pictures of this incident were shared on social media by witnesses, yet nothing much ever really happened to the guys responsible for assaulting the intoxicated teen girl. Why? Because the perpetrators were star football players.

This weekend I was stunned to read about two men who were arrested for participating in the gang rape of an intoxicated woman outside a popular bar on Panama City Beach during spring break.

Officials said that they received a recording of the incident, which shows the passed out woman sitting on a beach chair, being sexually assaulted by several men. The entire incident was recorded, and no, neither the person recording the rape, nor any of the hundreds of onlookers did anything. No, it was more important to record the incident than to call the authorities who could actually help this woman.

To what end was this recording made? So he could show his friends? Post it online and get millions of views on some dodgy site? It baffles me.

In a way, doing bugger all, also makes you guilty of a crime. It could be argued that this is very much in line with aiding and abetting a criminal. A rapist.

Today, a similar case came to light. Channel24 reported that M-Net has confirmed that two housemates have been removed from the Mzansi Big Brother House. “One for misconduct while another contestant was removed for her own well-being,” said Channel24. Rumours are going around that this is because of an incident of rape in the house – thought M-Net has not confirmed anything.

This is not the first time Big Brother’s production staff and the show’s millions of viewers have sat idly by as women were sexually assaulted in the house. Channel24 reports on several other incidents of sexual assault that had viewers gripped.

More and more people are recording incidents of rape – be it on camera, social media or even under Big Brother’s watchful eye. Is this happening because we are seeing people more and more as characters who are merely there for entertainment purposes (yes, and some find incidents of rape entertaining)?

Or is it maybe true that finding pleasure in the act of watching human suffering has, now, become the last taboo to fall by the way side? That by, in some sense, watching others suffer, makes us feel better about our own selfish lives?

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