Friday, 25 April 2008

YouTube: YouRape

By Jane

YouTube is the current leader in online video. YouTube allows people to easily upload and share video clips. Anyone can view the content which can include current affairs, music videos, tv shows, film trailers or graphic rape.

YouTube relies on third parties to flag offensive video clips, which is why it is possible on anyday of the week to find explicit rape videos on YouTube. There are up to a thousand hits a day on films promising rape in the title and key words. Clips that are posted are often well known scenes from controversial films, most frequently from films which were originally banned, or which remain heavily censored in many countries.

A firm favorite is the 17 minute rape of Monica Belluci from Gaper Noe’s film “Irreversible”. The clip shows a scanntily clad, sexually attractive woman who enters a gloomy red glowing subway where she encounters a vicious gay pimp. He attacks her, sodomizes her and then beats her into a bloody, unrecognisable coma.
This film and others was included in “Audiences and Receptions of Sexual Violence in Contempory Cinema” a recent report commissioned from the University of Aberystwyth by the BBFC . The report acknowledges that the rape clip is frequently uploaded to YouTube by users wishing to be provocative and offensive. During March 2008 the same violent rape clip from Irreversible was posted 11 times by the same US user; one day he posted the same film from 2 different accounts, including a declaration stating the film was not for pussies.

YouTube users are able to post comments under rape film clips expressing how much the victim enjoyed being raped and what they would have done it to her... Popular rape clips include graphic sequences from “I Spit on Your Grave”, “Straw Dogs”, “Clockwork Orange” and “The Hills Have Eyes”. The only way for these films to be removed is by “flagging” by other YouTube users; there is no moderator to check on the content of material which is uploaded.

Some of the rape clips achieve up to 20,000 hits before they are suspended. Others have manged to get up to 7,000 hits in 4 days when uploaded at the weekend. This demonstrates YouTube do not check their flagging system at the weekend although the claim to check their site 24/7. The flagging system is slow, and if films have already been posted as mature content it takes even longer to get rape clips removed.

Some users post multiple rape videos; one recent example has been identified by his MSN and MySpace link as a 14 year old boy from the UK, who boasts a dvd collection of rape movies. His collection includes a rare scene from the “Last House on the Left” of a bloody drawn out gang rape which culminates in a young girl having her intestines squeezed out as she dies. After 16 days his collection was removed and his account was closed. Simultaneously he opened a new account claiming freedom of speech and his motives for posting rape films is that people have a right to view such scenes.

YouTube have been asked why they allow rape to be posted so freely on their video sharing site; they remain indifferent and direct users to the flagging system as the only way to remove offensive and provocative films. YouTube is an easy access site for users wishing to spread violence against women. Users are able to express their hatred freely and compare their fantasies. YouTube users encourage each other through the comments boards to consider rape to be an acceptable part of adult sexual relationships.

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