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Dharun Ravi Apologizes for His Actions. Your Thoughts?

Dharun Ravi apologizes for his actions

According to NJ.com, on Tuesday May 29, for the first time, Dharun Ravi issued an apology for his actions related to the Rutgers webcam incident. Dharun will also turn himself in Thursday and serve a 30 day jail term, even though the prosecution has appealed his sentence.

“I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices that I made on September 19, 2010 and September 21, 2010. My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions. I apologize to everyone affected by those choices.”

What do you think about Dharun’s apology?
Does it make you feel differently?

Please share your thoughts as comments below.

Comments

15 Comments. Add your own »

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  1. Too little too late. I think this might have made more of a difference had he spoken up during the trial, and not relied on (his father’s friends as) character witnesses and his mother’s classically-Tamilian dramatics which at no point referenced a worldview beyond their own perceptions of their tragedy. The defense as a whole failed to recognize the fundamental wrongness of Ravi’s actions – had they acknowledged that and THEN built their defense upon that basic understanding I think they might have fared better in court.

    1. JK – I totally agree. I too felt that the reaction of Dharun’s family was very self-centred and they just couldn’t bring themselves to show any solidarity for the victims family. Apologies can heal when they are made in a timely fashion, and when they are truly heartfelt. Not only that – it is the only way that the person who did something wrong can begin to heal.

      Dharun could have saved himself some suffering if he had not tried to act like he did nothing wrong.

      But overall – I see this as a bigger indictment of his parents – and of all similar Indian parents who are small-minded and just want to protect their own narrow interests and won’t try to see the bigger picture.

      For many Indians, the idea that normal human beings can have sexual impulses – especially the desire to be sexually intimate with someone of the same gender is just too shocking to be legitimate and worthy of respect.

      I suspect that if Dharun had a gay roommate who was in the closet or celibate – he might have found it easier to accept. But if he had a problem with a sexually active gay roommate he could have and should have tried to deal with it in a very different and more healthy way.

      I think this should be a powerful lesson for Indians everywhere – if you have a problem with someone’s sexual impulses – deal with it – don’t try to victimize the person who is sexually active.

  2. Yes, it does. I do not think he was motivated by hate. However, callousness to the plight of others can result in great harm, and his apology correctly recognizes that. What happened was a terrible tragedy. There is no undoing it. I think his apology should be accepted, and he be allowed to move on.

  3. I agree…it is too late and too little…I don’t believe he means what he is saying…Honestly Indians in general are still in the denial phase of accepting homosexuality and this whole incidence brought out that aspect of our community

  4. I think this is a closure for Ravi and a closure for a lot of others involved, not least the activists who are involved and concerned with LGBT rights issues and had taken up Tyler Clemeti’s cause. I am an activist for gay rights issues myself in India, and I feel that we should stop fogging this horse any more and let things rest. There is a time for activism and a time for introspection and reconciliation. Ravi implicitly accepts what he has been convicted for and expresses remorse. To claim that he should have done it before while his case was going on and while he was under legal advisement is at best wishful thinking. I feel we should let the matter rest now.

  5. There is no point in reading too much into this apology. Obviously it is just a bit of legal procedure for the sake of completeness. The wording of the apology would probably be entirely from Ravi’s lawyers.

    Judge Berman, during his sentencing, remarked that Ravi had not issued any apology until then. So, Ravi’s legal team is just filling in that blank; providing the missing apology that seemed to rankle everyone so much.

    They’re now, finally, able to place that all-important little tick mark in the check list, against the point, “Apology issued”. This is important for them in regard to the upcoming appeal. When the case comes up again, they wouldn’t want another judge noting that Ravi STILL HASN’T issued an apology and therefore his sentence had to be increased.

    When a person hires a lawyer, he is no longer free to do whatever he likes, whether it is to offer information to investigators or to issue apologies. He is expected to follow his lawyer’s advice in every one of these matters. Because, the average defendant is a layman in legal matters, and does not understand the possible consequences of what he says. For example, had Ravi issued an apology earlier, that would have been used against him by the prosecution as a clear sign of his sense of guilt in the death of Tyler. So, Ravi would have been expressly forbidden by his lawyers to issue any apology or show any contrition.

    After the judge’s remarks, of course, things changed a bit; so his legal team released a very carefully worded apology. They made sure to use only words that one would associate with a child that is still in the process of mental development: “thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish”.

    These five words weren’t put there by chance. They were carefully selected, to create an image that was as far away as possible from concepts like “vindictive”, “homophobic, “vicious, “hateful”, and so on, which the prosecution is keen to attach to Ravi.

    So, just take it for what it is: a bit of proactive legal actioneering from the defense team.

  6. Dharun,

    your room mate is dead and buried. You will soon be reunited with your loving and narrow minded family. While his family will mourn till their dying breath. Your “regret” and “apology” are pitifully inadequate gestures.

    I hope you remember Tyler’s romantic interlude which you intruded upon when you take your first girlfriend to bed. Nothing you can ever say or do will ever compensate for what you did to Tyler.

    A fellow Indian and a gay man

  7. I totally agree with Neel’s comment. Dharun’s delayed and calculated apology doesn’t change my feelings. Actions speak louder than words. I hope Dharun takes the counseling and community service, that came with his sentence seriously and evolves as a person. He should learn to treat others with respect and dignity, no matter how different they are from him. Based on his personal experience, Dharun now has an opportunity to stand up against bullying and homophobia. If and when he does, I will take a second look at him.

    1. Before he takes a stand against bullying and homophobia and all that, he needs to take a stand to his enabling family and community, who have coddled and babied him his whole life. I DEPLORE how as Tamilians we raise our children to be THIS blind to empathy and compassion and consequence, trying to protect them from the whole world by cocooning them in family dramatics, suffocating them in that fear of the greater world and calling it love. As a culture, we mistake fear for love, narcissism for love, projective identification for love, misogyny and gender tyranny for love, silence for love. It’s in our movies, it’s in our songs. We should take a hard look at what we are really teaching ourselves. It’s seriously backwards and nauseating.

      1. Shri,

        I read it already, been following this story. And yeah, it isn’t just Tamilian culture. I’m just speaking to what I know, since I’m Tamilian, and not from another South Asian culture. I don’t think we can proceed from blaming the wider South Asian cultural mileu in terms of fixing these problems – it just smacks of whining that we Tamilians aren’t the ONLY ones who are like this, look at all these other people too!!!! And I think that is really unhelpful. If any South Asian culture wants to reflect on this, it has to start with itself first and then proceed to more broadly shared messages.

      2. JK – you put it so well – I am not Tamilian – but I see some of this even in my extended Multani (Punjabi) side of my family – and beyond. I see it in other Asian families as well. To truly learn compassion, one must first be fearless in seeking and sharing the truth. But so often, we run into censorship – so information and ideas are restricted. We often shoot the truth teller – because sometimes – the truth is not what we want to hear. We build up self-seeking narratives about ourselves and the world and shy away from those who challenge us and bring to us uncomfortable truths.

        Of course, this is not to say that knowing the whole truth will automatically make us more compassionate – we may simply lack the courage or goodness to be compassionate.

        But posts – such as yours are so refreshing – because they express what is often left unsaid. To unearth buried truths is a great service to humanity at large. Thank you for your brilliant observations.

    2. And I didn’t say it before in my other comments, but thank you Shri for writing that article and prompting that reflective dialogue that needs to happen throughout all South Asian cultures. And for all your work on this site. I’m a huge fan.

      In solidarity,
      JK

  8. “To err is human and to forgive divine” but the greatness lies in admitting one’s mistake. If he genuinely meant whatever he said, there is some chance of pardon. But a loss of life is not something to be ignored nor the invasion of someone’s privacy. I hope the punishment equals the pardon, and pray he realized that meddling in others affairs is not fun.

  9. is there any courageous bollywood director who could put this true life story to screen? for all indians to learn a lesson called ‘respect’.

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