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Rape Case Shows New Dangers From The Internet

Rape Case Shows New Dangers From The Internet

There’s no question – the internet has done some great things.  Right now, it’s providing me and other writers at Care2 with the opportunity to bring interesting and crucial news and issues to a wide range of people – I’m not going to begin to list the ways that it’s transformed the way we live.  But the anonymity of the internet has also proved to be a serious danger, as when the mother of a teenage girl’s friend, in the wake of a falling out between the two girls, created an online identity and manipulated the young woman to suicide.  Now, the news of a rape case from Wyoming city of Casper shows the extent to which violence can be sparked through the internet.

A woman in Casper was reportedly raped at knife point after being assaulted at her front door, and left bound on the floor by a man who claimed that he thought it was invited.  Now two men are charged in the crime: the man who committed the rape, and the woman’s ex-boyfriend, who posed as the victim online and claiming that she had a rape fantasy and wanted to be assaulted.

The New York Times reported that a few days before the Casper woman was raped, “she had complained to the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department that someone had made a false Craigslist posting about her, including photographs and personal information. The ad read, ‘Need a real aggressive man with no concern for women.’”  Craigslist took down the ad when the woman complained, but apparently it stayed online long enough to attract the attention of the rapist. 

This of course has reminded many of the “Craigslist killer” Philip Markoff, who used Craigslist to arrange meetings with women who he later attacked or killed.  Craiglist reportedly tightened security after the Markoff story broke, but it seems not to have worked.  The Casper prosector says that Craigslist has been cooperative with them, but added, “I would prefer that they maybe not run these ads.  You know somebody’s going to do it even if they don’t.”

It’s hard to put my horror over this story into words.  The idea that a man would actually believe that he was doing something asked-for by entering an unknown woman’s house and violently assaulting her is disgusting – and that he found the idea of committing a stranger rape appealing.  But the ex-boyfriend’s role is, if possible, more egregious.  I can only hope that Craigslist begins to take the implications of its lax standards seriously, and that law enforcement officials start to focus their attention on violence begun on the internet, if only for the sake of people like this woman in Casper, Wyoming.

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Photo from Xdmag's Flickr photostream.

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103 comments

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3:48AM PDT on Aug 7, 2010

Web Marketing

3:48AM PDT on Aug 7, 2010

You can't blame the Internet if it was used as a tool to commit crimes. It's like suing Ford for car crashes.

10:06AM PDT on Apr 18, 2010

Took me a long time to even go on Facebook. I am not very impressed with any of these online "sources" (For whatever reason.) People do not seem to realize how much personal information they give out, even on Facebook. Talking about going out shopping, and where, and at what time, leaves the "Bad Guys" so many options. Such as breaking into the home, since no one will be around, or, if they have more heinous ideas, knowing where and at what time, someone will show up. It's very scary out there today. We have all kinds of laws on the books, but until SOMEONE decides to take proper action, these acts will continue.

3:27AM PST on Feb 26, 2010

i think these ads should me banned and the filtering and spamming procedure should me much more strict as these things may happen again

7:34PM PST on Feb 20, 2010

Creepy

3:11PM PST on Feb 13, 2010

Craiglist is a collection of wierdos and con artist. My boss had me place an employment ad on the site and never received one true prospective employee. Just e-mails from people trying to sell all types of schemes and weirdos.

How horrible that a man would put his girlfriend in jeapardy just to satisfy his sick fantasy. Yes they need to be banned, we have a lot of sick neanderthal wretches in this world and the internet is like a gateway to hell if your not extremely careful.

7:37AM PST on Feb 13, 2010

with everything else, on the internet you have to be very careful and why someone would think that craig list would be an exception are in trouble, whether it is online or in the newspaper you don't know this person you take all precautions to make sure that safety comes first at all times.

9:56AM PST on Feb 11, 2010

After reading others' comments, I should clarify that I definitely agree that Craigslist is not at all responsible for this crime; of course, the guilt lies with the two criminals. It's just that Craigslist in particular has attracted an obscene number of human traffickers, rapists, pedophiles, and many others over the past several years--seems more so than any other site, or at least that's the way it's reported. If other users aren't responsibly reporting abuse (maybe a lot of the other users viewing that ad were as sick as the one who posted it), something else has to be done to better monitor these people...

9:49AM PST on Feb 11, 2010

Craigslist has really become notorious. What a horrifying story. Lock up these two sad excuses for human life and throw away the key.

I first saw this story on CNN. Two reporters were sitting around the desk discussing it, quite casually. One says to the other something along the lines of: "Of course, the man raping her had no idea; he just thought he was fulfilling her fantasy." The woman replies in a conciliatory tone: "Oh, of course." What an idiot. Where do they dig up these people? How can they sit around and sympathize with the sicko perpetrator? Actually, it seems they don't even listen to what they're saying, because an intellectual thought has never crossed their minds, and they're too busy checking their hair/make-up on camera 3. Regardless, it's incredibly insensitive of the woman's suffering, and ignorant. Craigslist is out of control. If they can't do any better, I think it should just be shut down-- though, of course, as others have pointed out, something else will come quickly to fill the void.

10:28AM PST on Feb 10, 2010

Oh. My. GOD. I can not believe that! And I can't believe I hadn't heard about it.

I feel like YES, Craigslist shouldn't allow things of that nature, but I would hesitate to place blame on them because of how impossible--not to mention costly--moderating every single post would be.

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