As many as 10 witnesses tweeted photos and video of a man having oral sex with a woman outside of a bank according to students who broadcast the scene on Twitter. The woman photographed now tells police that she was a victim of sexual assault and no one intervened. A website claiming to have seen a video of the incident says it appears consensual.
A viral photo of two people appearing to engage in a public sex act near the Ohio University campus in Athens was actually rape, according to the woman photographed.
A university student photographed while appearing to be engaging in a public sex act near Ohio University’s Athens campus tells police she was being raped as fellow students watched and uploaded pictures.
As many as 10 people watched and tweeted pictures and even a video of the act while describing both their shock and humor of the scene unfolding, according to students who broadcast the scene on Twitter.
The couple, described as being in their early 20s, is seen in several shots leaning against a Chase Bank window on Court Street – just a block from the Athens police station – as the man has oral sex with her.
But since the photos’ upload, all of which appear to be deleted online, many have questioned whether the woman pictured wasn’t actively engaging in the act herself.
A college news website since claiming access to the event’s 1:27 video Wednesday reports that the sex does appear consensual and the woman appeared to be enjoying herself.
“Generally speaking, the two appeared to be willing participants who were, frankly, enjoying themselves,” Total Frat Move reports after claiming to have accessed the footage through a “friend of a friend.”
Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle says it is shocking that bystanders did nothing but take photos for social media — but perhaps they didn’t know what they were seeing.
“Two different times in the video, the male looked around at different onlookers and exchanged words with them. This was in response to jeers they hurled at the couple,” they state.
One day after the incident was filmed police tell 10Tv that the woman involved reported it as rape.
Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle told the station they are investigating her claim and hope to speak with witnesses.
One thing’s for sure, any report of rape – and its photographing – is seen by them as no laughing matter.
“The community at large views this as they watched and witnessed a sexual assault occurring, and did nothing but watch,” said Chief Pyle. “But the flipside of that is that they may not have realized what they were witnessing.”
In the photos, the couple is leaning against a Chase Bank window on Court Street not far from the Athens, Ohio, police station.
After finishing the act a source told Total Frat Move that the couple posed for pictures with each other and bystanders.
Whether alcohol played a factor in the case is still under investigation.
If one of the participants was “mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs or some other condition,” it can be considered as cause for expulsion according to university policy.
Like police, Ohio student Allie Erwin says it’s the behavior of her fellow students who stood around recording the event that surprises her the most.
“Our first instinct as a community was not to intervene and help this woman but to post it on social media, and make a mockery of probably the most traumatic experience of her life,” she told 10TV.
“All that needed to happen was to say, ‘Hey are you alright? Is this what you want to be happening?'” she said. “She obviously wasn’t OK with what happened. It was rape. She reported it to the police as rape.”