Saturday 25 October 2014

Anyone who looked at stolen nude images is guilty

Published 03/09/2014 | 02:30

Jennifer Lawrence

When porn pervades the internet, why are some so obsessed with seeing nude images of women who have not consented to their release?

In the latest tawdry hacking scandal, naked photographs of more than 100 celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Selena Gomez, were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan.

Although Apple has yet to confirm it, 4chan users have claimed that the photos were taken from its iCloud service.

The mass release of intimate images of famous women, images that were never meant for public consumption, caused a sensation online.

For hundreds of thousands of people, the chance to be titillated by naked pictures of celebrities clearly trumped any lingering disquiet about their provenance.

Many of the people who searched for the images, or clicked on links to view them, wouldn't consider themselves to be deviants. But they are.

Because the images were stolen from these women and posted online with the clear intent to embarrass, humiliate and debase them.

Their agency and bodily integrity was deemed subservient to the imperative of providing sexual gratification to strangers.

Anyone who slobbered over the images, oblivious to the distress their theft had caused, is complicit in the crime.

The fact that the women willingly posed for these images is immaterial.

They did so in private on the proviso that they would have sole control over their dissemination.

They did not want to be ogled over by a bunch of prurient voyeurs with no comprehension of the concept of consent.

Now, intimate moments with their partners have been tainted by the thought of lecherous trolls using their private photos as some kind of sleazy masturbation aid.

Some of those sharing the images have defended their actions on the basis that the women should have anticipated their theft.

They were stupid to ever pose for the images. They, and not the hacker, are to blame. They were asking for it, they deserve it.

According to this strangled logic, every homeowner whose house has ever been broken into was asking for it by having the temerity to voluntarily buy a TV or jewellery.

They were goading the burglars, teasing them with their expensive stuff and daring them to break in.

Of course, this argument is nonsense, but it doesn't stop knuckle-dragging victim blamers from earnestly trotting it out when attempting to defend their casual exploitation of women.

The same sort of tired rationalisations are used to excuse rapists who couldn't resist attacking a woman because she was too drunk or her skirt was too short.

If a creepy stalker had used a long-lens camera to capture surreptitious images of women in their homes, would people be so nonchalant about viewing them?

Regrettably, the answer to that question appears to be yes. Paparazzi have no qualms about resorting to such measures, while there has also been an explosion in the popularity of up-skirt and down-top pictures online.

Actress Emma Watson has previously spoken about the abuse she faced when she turned 18 and became "fair game" overnight.

"One photographer lay down on the floor to get a shot up my skirt. The night it was legal for them to do it, they did it. I woke up the next day and felt completely violated by it all," she said.

It's not just celebrities who have to deal with this kind of perversion on a daily basis.

Last month, in just one week, three men were arrested in London for filming and taking pictures up women's skirts on the Tube.

Speaking to the 'London Evening Standard', Inspector Ricky Twyford said that since the advent of smart-phones, there had been an explosion in these kinds of sexual offences.

One cretin in the United States even installed a camera in his shoe so he could unobtrusively angle it under women's skirts.

The really disturbing aspect of all of this is that some men seem to get off from the fact that the women they are recording have not consented to being photographed.

Clearly, it's not solely a sexual thing for them. After all, there's no shortage of porn involving willing participants online.

Instead, they relish degrading women, objectifying them and reducing them to the status of insentient sexual aid.

If you looked at the leaked images of those celebrities, then so do you.

Irish Independent

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