Instead of calling for help, Marina instead began to broadcast the assault via the Twitter-owned live stream app called Periscope, in which thousands of strangers across the world can watch what you film in real time.
“I have never seen a case such as this where you would actually live-stream a sexual assault,” said Ron O’Brien, the Franklin County prosecutor. He cited that Marina thought broadcasting the situation would allow for people to call for help, but that “she got caught up in the likes.”
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Marina’s lawyer has since argued that “she was filming in order to preserve, not to embarrass or to shame or to titillate anybody,” but now she as well as Mr. Gates are each facing more than 40 years in prison.
Though her lawyer also reminded the judge not to “lose track of the fact that she’s a high school student and she and her friend were clearly taken advantage of,” it’s safe to say that her actions were impermissible. She did not call 911 or run for help, and the prosecutor pointed out that she even pulls on the victim’s leg at one point without helping, and otherwise appeared to be laughing.
This appalling story is an example of a teenager not being able to draw the connection between her actions and their harmful consequences, as well as a scary glimpse into how the allure of social media stardom can dehumanize us even when making the right choice to help someone instead of capitalizing on their suffering would have been so simple.