It seems that as soon as I think I’ve been doing this long enough that nothing can shock me anymore, the people of this world get even more repulsive.
The suspect is 20-year-old Johnathon Richard Hock from Surprise, Arizona. According to Detective Homes with the Phoenix Police Department, a 20-year-old woman came to police in the beginning of March and said she had been sexually assaulted about a week before.
The woman told police she had received information from her friends that there was a video on a website that showed her having sex with a man. In the video, which took place at around 4 a.m. local time and was apparently recorded in her bedroom, the woman appears to be unconscious. She told police that the man was known to her and said the two had been dating for about two weeks prior to the incident.
[. . .]
Homes said that investigators believe the video came from a webcam at the location where the sexual assault took place and was initially streamed live on a website. It was then posted as a video to the page. Homes could not say which website was used to stream the video but several profiles on Stickam, where users can broadcast videos live, showed a person with the same name, location and photos similar to Hock. Photos from the video had reportedly showed up on at least one other website.
At least one woman who witnessed the rape reported it to authorities, according to the East Valley Tribune. The paper reports that she called the Arizona Department of Public Safety and said she saw Hock assaulting a young woman. “She said while he was doing this he was laughing and making comments,” an affidavit, quoted by the newspaper, said. “She said Hock made comments about how the victim would never know what was happening to her because she was passed out,” it added. Investigators have not been able to determine how the victim became unconscious as she not reported to police more than a week after the crime took place.
The first thought that comes to my mind is how sad and disgusting this world is when a man would do something like this, because in order for him to feel comfortable doing it, he has to feel that he has the support of the witnesses to his crime. This happens all the time when rape is committed either in front of other people or with other people. But to stream it on the internet? That requires a whole new level of belief in society’s comfort with rape.
The second thought that comes to my mind is how sad and disgusting the world is when I’m honestly surprised and relieved that someone who saw the rape online actually reported it. Because it seems much more common for witnesses to stay quiet than to speak up. Furthermore, reporting such a rape requires recognizing that sexual penetration of an unconscious person is rape, rather than “sex.” Sadly, that’s a frequently unrecognized fact, especially when the rapist is the victim’s boyfriend.
The last thought is how many times this has happened before only to have no one say a word. Though I’ve never seen them for myself — I heeded the warnings and didn’t click through, because I have mental health to protect — I’ve heard that these types of videos pop up on YouTube every now and then. “Passed out girlfriend videos.” And if they do pop up on YouTube only to be later removed, lord only knows how many appear on YouTube-esque porn sites. But I’m willing to bet that if these videos do actually exist, and I don’t have reason to doubt the particular people I’ve seen making the claims, an overwhelming majority of them were never reported to authorities. And I’m further willing to bet that of those which were, many were not taken seriously.
I think it’s clear that this case is a particularly abhorrent outlier. But as much as I’d love to, I have trouble believing that it’s not a symptom of something excruciatingly ugly and dangerous in our rape culture, the support that rapists believe they have with in it, and the support they likely actually do have.