Revenge Porn

“Mum, why don’t you just Google it?”
Bet your kids say this to you every time they have a question you can’t answer.
What did we do before Google? It is the undisputed god of the Internet. We revere its omniscience – and pray that it will never churn out anything unsavoury about our past.

Google has been in the news lately for taking a stand against “revenge porn”.
If you’re like me and barely (pun not intended) knows or cares about porn, let me explain.

Imagine you and your partner are splitting up. It is a bitter break-up. One partner wants to humiliate and harass the other. Revenge is on the cards.

Now think back to those raunchy photos, texts and videos you might have sent him/her. Think of the disruption and devastation it would cause if your ex decides to upload them to the net for the entire universe (your parents, your friends, your boss) to see.

That, my friend, is an example of revenge porn. In a nutshell, it refers to posting explicit material of somebody else without his or her knowledge or consent.
Google had decided that it will fight this insidious online trend by deleting these images from its Search Results, if requested.

Revenge porn had been in the news here in Australia. Recently, around 400 Australian women found out that their nude photos had been hacked by an American-based porn site. Even after the women contacted the site to ask for their stolen photos be removed, the site refused.

Bet none of those 400-odd women whose accounts were hacked ever dreamed their privacy would be invaded. Maybe they clicked those suggestive selfies for a lark. Maybe they felt pressured into doing it. Who knows? The fact remains, they did not ask for their images to be made public.

But how did the Australian media react to this situation? By blaming the victims. In fact, Channel 7 tweeted, “What’s it going to take for women to get the message about taking and sending nude photos?”

Sunrise post

The Sunrise post that was later taken down

 

I agree with Channel 7 – to some extent. Yes, women need to be aware of the pitfalls of posting anything personal online. But so do men. What lessons are we teaching our sons about respecting women and online responsibility? In most cases, it is men who resort to revenge porn to get back at their ex-girlfriends. Please stop the victim-blaming. Hold the men accountable for their behaviour.

When my kids are old enough to understand the intricacies of online (and real-life) sexual politics I will be talking to both of them – my daughter AND my son. I will teach both of them that sexting and selfies in compromising positions can only lead to trouble. I will teach both of them that a person’s privacy should never be invaded. I will teach both of them to take a stand against gender-bias.
Because it should not be the fault – or responsibility – of just one sex.

Have you heard of revenge porn? Do you click selfies?

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