Features

End Revenge Porn

Words by: Emily Schofield-Cox


A Labor backbencher has this week introduced a private member’s bill into the Federal Parliament to prohibit revenge porn.

Hallelujah!

The list of the grossest things that people can do goes like this:

  1. Watch videos of people popping pimples on the internet (seriously, don’t start with this “it’s cathartic” bullshit, it’s straight up disgusting)
  2. Pick their nose and eat it (WHY? WHY?)
  3. Abuse the trust put into them by another person by distributing private images shared in confidence with them – a horrible phenomenon called ‘revenge porn’.

Although there has always been dickheads in society who choose to brag to their mates about private matters, or who can’t deal with a break up well, the modern age of technology has made it frighteningly easy for these class-A douchebags to wreak havoc on innocent lives.

Now when a guy (or girl) gets their ass kicked to the curb, some of them flick through the old photos on their phone of their ex, bypassing the cute ones of them loved up together at dinner, and pick out that sexually explicit one and – with the touch of a button – send it whizzing around the world. And that is really scary.

Sending the ol’ dick pic, as it is affectionately known, or a flash of the left boob, is not a new concept. I’m 100 percent sure that our great grandparents were getting their kicks somehow too. Snapchat and texting has just made it easier and quicker. It’s the modern equivalent of asking someone to paint you like one of their French girls.

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But the difference is that back in those days the internet wasn’t around to let the losers of the break up take the cowardly way out. Back then, you could rip up the picture or not give Jack any room on the plank, and the problem was solved. These days, it’s a harder reality.

One in ten Australians have had ‘jilted’ ex-lovers share private sexual photos of them without their consent. That’s disgusting. These are people who placed their trust in a partner and had that trust abused in the most public of ways.

The really sad thing is that in many of those cases the victim is blamed. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter if they misplaced their trust or if they should have understood that it could be saved and shared fairly easily – the perpetrator has violated their privacy and it is a form of domestic violence that sees an ex-partner punished for leaving.

I have seen friends had this happen to them, and watched the wildfire spread. And the blame in those cases was not laid at the feet of the right person. Instead, the girls whose photos were distributed without their knowledge or consent were labelled ‘sluts’.

How do we still live in a society that brands the victims ‘sluts’ and the perpetrators ‘legends’? Surely we should have worked out how it really is by now.

This private member’s bill could mean that in Australia these cases of revenge porn – which happen to children as young as eleven – can be finally called illegal and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Already in America the creator of a revenge porn site that had more than 10,000 images of people, mostly women, shared without their consent by assholes was charged with more than two dozen felonies.

Australia, please follow suit. These people deserve to be punished and shamed because they took a natural part of someone and turned it against them. They took something special and normal and used it to make people feel vulnerable.

There are some who have the strength and the means to take back their vulnerability and sexuality in a really empowering way but there are so many who are left feeling less than. That makes me incredibly sad.

For those people, I hope that they can see the people who they loved and trusted, who they had to see praised for their cruelty, reprimanded and shamed for what they do.

And most of all, I hope that they remember that they are beautiful and deserve to feel loved and safe.