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Revenge porn: is nothing sacred anymore?

Revenge porn

By: Natasha Archary

 

Revenge Porn 

Revenge porn

Revenge porn to give you an example: Girl meets boy on online dating app. Girl and boy start heady virtual relationship that heats up quick. Boy asks girl for nudes. Girl says it would be better to meet first. Boy insists they will but he’d like to see what “he’s in for” before commiting to that. Girl hesitates, but it’s not easy dating in a technologically-charged world, so girl snaps herself exposed and hits send.

 

Boy proceeds to send girl’s nude photo to all his buddies. One friend recognises girl’s body because they had dated a few months back. Friend now furious decides girl is sleazy and needs to be taught a lesson. So he posts image on social media, along with rant about what a promiscuous beep girl is.

 

Girl humiliated does not know what to do. This isn’t the only form of revenge porn, there are many more scenarios, with the nature of content that’s shared including videos or memes. Video content may not be shared on social media alone, there are websites that cater to men looking to teach “sleazy” women a lesson.

 

What does the law say?

In South Africa, the Copyright Act allows for victims to request the removal of images or videos. But little else. There is however, pending cyber legislation which includes criminalising the distribution of intimate content without consent.

 

The proposed Bill advocates for possible jail time of up to three years and/or a fine for distributing content that is explicit in nature (ie nudity or pornographic) without the consent of the person involved.

 

How common is it?

In 2013 US internet security company, McAffe, found that 1 in 10 adults had a partner threaten to post their intimate photos online. In 2017, Facebook dealt with a company leak that revealed fifty one thousand reports of revenge porn in the month of January alone. So pretty common.

 

The internet and heartbreak can be a pretty toxic combination. With more people able to access the internet and making use of a smartphone today, creating explicit material isn’t exactly rocket science. The internet gives people a sense of annonymity, which is why many feel entitled to take the route of digital revenge.

 

We were all made aware of sexual scandals in South African schools this year because videos had made their way onto Twitter and were being circulated on Whatsapp. The same with religious leaders who were enjoying “private time” with members of their church.

 

How do you protect yourself?

You have to be confident to send someone a nude photo or say yes to making a sex tape today. Confident your relationship is a committed one. Confident your partner will not become a jilted lover when things don’t work out. Unless you are absolutely sure, don’t take nude pictures or give into the temptation to document your sexual encounters with a video.

 

Phones, email and social media accounts can all be hacked. Even if your partner is not guilty of sharing your exposed bits, someone else can gain access to these files.

 

Avoid sharing or storing your nude or sexually explicit images and videos. Revenge porn isn’t the only online form of sexual abuse, with “sextortion” becoming a fast-growing internet crime. But that’s a subject for another day, for now, say no to the guys who beg you for a nude unless you’re super confident.

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