Tyler Clementi Remembered Via Dharun Ravi Trial
There are two sides to every story. Tyler Clementi’s, the Rutgers freshman who died by suicide in September 2010, side is unknown, which leaves the events of what happened before Tyler jumped off the George Washington Bridge to be pieced together by the stories of others.
Dharun Ravi can be described as a typical college bro. Someone who hasn’t found himself yet and maybe never will. Not everyone can find their true selves and their morals. As such a confused kid, he makes a dumb decision, follows an inner voice that tells him that what he is doing or saying will make other kids think he is cool. From writing negatively to his friends through instant messenger to spying on Clementi’s private moments, Ravi made poor decisions to impress his friends.
To put Dharun on trial for causing Tyler’s suicide could be a little overkill because he never set out specifically to hurt his roommate. A charge of invasion of privacy is understandable. Is Ravi a bad person? Maybe, but did he set out to sabotage Tyler to the point of killing himself? We don’t know. I believe the answer is no. Molly Wei, Ravi’s friend, was a witness to her friend’s dumb behavior and did nothing to stop him. Does that make her a bad person, or just another kid trying to fit in?
While Tyler had told his friends that his father completely accepted him when he came out, it was made clear that Jane Clementi, Tyler’s mother, did not accept that her son was gay. Tyler said she rejected him. After the suicide, Jane said they had talked it out and were completely okay. We will never know if she said this because it is true, or if she is saying they were on loving terms because Tyler is gone and because of the publicity of the situation. Would you want to admit that you rejected your own son because he was gay, knowing that it could have lead to his feeling completely alone and eventually played a factor in his death?
Many different conscientious actions of the people that surrounded Tyler Clementi played a role in his feeling that there was no way out. Someone taking their own life is never an easy pill for anyone to swallow. In the end, it comes down to a loss of life and the question of where the line of blame is drawn.
The father of Tyler Clementi
Complete text transcript of statement by Tyler Clementi’s father, Joe Clementi:
Good afternoon, everyone. On behalf of the family and our supporters, I’d like to thank Judge Berman, who presided over the process in a firm but restrained way that maintained the dignity of the court while preserving the rights of the press, and for his sensitivity to the need to protect the privacy of the victims.
Thanks to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office for their investigation and presentation of the case, especially to First Assistant Julia McClure, who not only prepared and presented the case thoroughly but who was very sensitive to our concerns and our feelings and took great care to protect the privacy of our son and his friend, M.B.
And of course, thank you to the folks at the victims advocacy unit, who took care of all of our needs during this stressful time.
The trial was painful for us, as it would be for any parent who must sit and listen to people talk about bad and inappropriate things that were done to their child. We were here every day because we wanted to be here for our son and because we believe the trial was important because it dealt with important issues for our society and for our young people today and because of worldwide media attention that was brought to it. The criminal law is important because it deals with conduct that we find so bad, that we make it a crime.
We have come to understand that the criminal law is only one way of addressing these problems and that there are other ways that are better, particularly when it comes to changing the values and behavior of young people in [the] important areas of respect, privacy, responsibility in a digital world.
As you know, our lives have taken a new turn, and we’re on a mission to address these issues in an affirmative way through the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which we have set up in memory of our son. We hope that the media attention will not fade and that positive efforts on these important issues will be acknowledged. Just a word about personal responsibility.
To our college, high school and even middle-school youngsters, I would say this: You’re going to meet a lot of people in your lifetime. Some of these people you may not like. But just because you don’t like them, does not mean you have to work against them. When you see somebody doing something wrong, tell them, “That’s not right. Stop it.”
You can make the world a better place. The change you want to see in the world begins with you.
We will be issuing a statement regarding the results of the trial in the near future via press release. I thank you for your attention.