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Thursday, February 17, 2005

The dark site of real time chattin'

The dark side of real time chattin’

by Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros
February 7, 2005

Real time chatting has its dire consequences.

Bertrand Russell in his Skeptical Essays said, “machines are worshipped because they are beautiful and valued, because they confer power; they are also hated because they are hideous, and loathed because they impose slavery”.

I have my share of online chatting addiction that’s now outwitting my virtues I must admit. Since 1997, I’m hooked with the ICQ, MSN, and Faceparty; and recently at the Yahoo chatrooms - Cebu Tambayan 1, 2 and 6 - where I met all my virtual boyfriends before they became real ones (ahem! met some, lost some). This passion for chatting leads to attachment.

Some nights ago, THE FREEMAN Courts reporter Mitchelle Calipayan singled me out to edit her story on the conviction of a man to imprisonment of reclusion perpetua for raping his 20-year-old Boholana chatmate on June 8, 2000 (Mitchelle considers me an authority when it comes to chat lingo, thanks!).

Criminal Case No. DU – 8337

In a 15-page decision, Dexter – a former information technology manager – was sentenced to the penalty of life imprisonment by Regional Trial Court branch 28 presiding judge Marilyn Yap for raping Bernadette, a lass from Garcia Hernandez, Bohol.

Mitch’s report read: “Dexter and Bernadette began knowing each other through real time chatting on May 2000. On June 8, the two met at a shopping mall for the first time wherein the accused invited her to use his personal computer with Internet connection in his house in Pitogo, Consolacion, Cebu.

“Bernadette, being an online chatting enthusiast, acceded to the invitation. She used the computer for 30 minutes, after which the accused lifted her from the chair and brought her inside his room where the accused consummated his carnal knowledge despite of the struggle made by the victim.

“Dexter during the trial admitted having sexual intercourse with the victim, but vehemently denied using force upon her, claiming they are lovers. But the court, however, found Dexter’s denial unconvincing against the direct testimony of the victim.

“A sweetheart defense to be credible should be substantiated by some documentary or other evidence of the relationship like live mementos, love letters, notes, pictures and the like, which the accused failed to provide to prove the truthfulness of his claim,” the court said.

“Bernadette was forced to tell her relatives and mother about her fate when she discovered that she was impregnated by Dexter, who at that time was also being charged for another rape case of another chatmate, which is still pending before the same sala.

The court had ordered the accused to pay Bernadette the amount of P50,000 as civil indemnity and the amount of P50,000 as moral damages; and to provide support to his 3-year-old child by Bernadette, subject to the amount and terms to be determined by the trial court in a proper proceeding.”

“Be wary of the true motives of some men chatting on the Internet. A computer will do what man tell it to do, but that may be much different from what he has in mind,” this was Yap’s advice to real time chatters as embodied in her decision convicting Dexter for raping Bernadette.”


I have my share of eyeballs (chat lingo for meeting up), and I find my crowd at the United Chatters of Cebu Tambayan 1 a blessing because what I shared with them first time we gathered during the Sinulog festivity is a kind of bonding anchored on what we have intimately shared – agreed upon, fought for or argued - online. I would say that it is every chatter’s responsibility to be wary of the true motives of his or her chatmate at the other end of the cyberhighway. Or else I could raise an eyebrow, and blurt out: “Ngano man kang ni-enter?”

My mother told me the Internet has been one of the “devil’s potent inventions” destroying every good man inch by inch. This I considered a sweeping statement as I find myself strengthened by the weaknesses of chatters I find in cyberspace. I have never been destroyed a bit by the likes of Reynan alias kris_coral from whom I learned the challenges of rearing a special child; of Cyrus alias cymurai who taught me to move around a message board he created (guys, visit www.4architects.ph.tc please!); of Celxham alias killuazoldick who helped me outline my article on animé thingy; of Achi alias prince_achilles who babbles about Ragnarok, an online game; of James alias slash_and_burn who still believes in the beauty of reconciliation even when he is a product of a broken home; of Walter alias villagantol who left his hometown Zamboanga City for greener pastures as back home offered nothing but poverty brought about by the never-ending clashes of ideologies (tsk! tsk!); and of course my special friend Josh alias byte_lick who shielded me for a while from the attacks of room booters (these are chatters who have a dose of programs that allow them to kick fellow chatters out of the chatroom).

At every chatroom, there’s a mix of “races” too – from the conservative to the perverts; from the smart alecks to the morons; from royals to the oppressed. Bottomline is that the chatroom becomes an avenue for the shy to speak his or her mind, for the not-so-confident to expound on his ideas, for the weakling to find strength, for the “torpe” to get a sweeatheart, for the strong to be overpowered by the weak, for the egocentric to be up and about, for the spartan to live the same.

The chatroom is a melting pot of personalities that either make you laugh, cry, go mad, irate, compassionate, indifferent, attentive - all.

Every chatter must just make it a point to never ever lose his good self in the Internetherworld!

(For comments, reactions, suggestions, and contributions, crank up my addy: pinay_mangatkatay@yahoo.com. C yah @ Cebu Tambayan 1 — Chat rules!)