In the current Rutgers University case involving the September 2010 suicide of 18-year-old freshman Tyler Clementi, his ex-roomate Dharun Rhavi was convicted Friday on fifteen charges including invasion of privacy, the hiding and tampering of evidence, and bias intimidation, in other words, a hate crime. Should bullies be held accountable for related suicides?


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If the death of an individual is attributed to a weapon, the individual responsible is the one who used the weapon. Why then should suicide due to bullying be any different? In bullying the weapon being used isn’t a gun, it’s words and actions.

In the current Rutgers University case involving the September 2010 suicide of 18-year-old freshman Tyler Clementi, his ex-roomate Dharun Rhavi was convicted Friday on fifteen charges including invasion of privacy, the hiding and tampering of evidence, and bias intimidation, in other words, a hate crime.

There’s only one thing missing here, the most important of them all. Rhavi was not charged with the suicide of Clementi. He should have been.

Clementi’s eventual suicide due to Rhavi’s malicious acts is not merely boorish.

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), victims of bullying are more likely to show signs of depression and have a greater risk of committing suicide compared with individuals who are not bullied.

Bullies who are oblivious to the effects of their words and actions on their victims are reckless. The SPRC describes bullying as an ongoing physical or emotional victimization of an individual. Their verbal and physical attacks could lead to an individual’s psychological instability, which could ultimately result in a devastating consequence: suicide.

People may argue that victims of bullying who commit suicide already had pre-existing conditions, such as being mentally unstable, having depression and anxiety disorders.

Even if that were the case, bullying would only increase the probability of that individual’s attempt at suicidal acts. It shouldn’t take away from the fact that the victim was mentally or physically mistreated.

On BullyingStatistics.org, a study at Yale University showed bullying victims are two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims.

Some may argue that victims of suicide weren’t emotionally and mentally strong enough to take the hard knocks of life, but when did hard knocks ever include being ridiculed on everyone’s Twitter feed for the world to see?

Clementi’s suicide was the result of Internet bullying.

Clementi was exposed to the world having intimate relations with another man in his dorm room, by a secretly placed web cam that streamed a live video feed.Rhavi, who was Clementi’s roommate at the time, planted the web cam.

Clementi later jumped to his death off a bridge.

In this case the webcam is the smoking gun.Whether it resulted in death or not, the individual who used the gun is responsible.

The same applies to bullying, whether the victim was already mentally unstable or not strong enough to take “some” bullying; it doesn’t matter. They are still victims of it.

If that individual ends up committing suicide, ultimately the one responsible is the one who committed the crime of bullying. Rhavi should have been charged with murder.

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