Five hundred Australian women are living a nightmare right now. And they’re being told they only have themselves to blame.
This week 500 South Australian women had nude photos stolen and posted on a US-based website.
Most of the pictures were stolen from private social media accounts or sent to the site by spiteful ex-partners. The first site has been shut down, but can now be accessed via three different sites which link to the original database of images. In a revolting twist, the sites are now photo-shopping the faces and the bodies of these women into porn.
There are 500 women in Australia today feeling sick. They are feeling humiliated, nauseated and violated. Not just because their trust has been betrayed but also because people are still looking at their private photos and there is nothing they can do. They are feeling very vulnerable.
You can only imagine their pain:
You’re in a loving relationship. You share a sexy photo of yourself with your partner. Maybe it’s in lingerie, maybe it’s topless, maybe it’s even more revealing. Maybe it’s a photo you took together. It doesn’t matter what other people think because it’s private, it’s consensual and it’s just for the two of you.
Now imagine that your partner showed that image to one other person, perhaps to one of their mates. Imagine how embarrassed you’d be, how angry, how humiliated. Now imagine that your private photo, that intimate and vulnerable moment, was shared with millions of people. Millions of people who not only looked at that image, but who pawed over it, catalogued it and shared it.
Finally, imagine that the site on which your photo has been posted is photo-shopping your face and body into porn scenes, with genitals next to your face, as if you had just committed a sex act with a stranger.
A nightmare. A gut-twisting, world-collapsing nightmare.
So what are we telling these women? Are they being supported? Do they have people standing up, demanding that the perpetrators be punished?
No. They have been told are to blame for what has happened.
Everyone from police to TV shows to people tsking over news reports have said: Well, what did they expect?