News broke today that four current and former AFL players took naked selfies and sexually explicit videos and sent them to two women.
A national magazine, Woman’s Day, published those images (with the genitals blacked-out) in their print version and also online.
There’s some additional titillation around the release of the images because two of those players may have been in long-term relationships when the selfies were sent. “What will his girlfriend think?” A second online publication has asked.
While sending images of this kind is against AFL players’ Code of Conduct, the players’ football club, Collingwood FC, has given a statement on Twitter saying they won’t be taking any further actions. Collingwood President Eddie McGuire told a media conference that the players were “idiots” that “somebody’s sucked in”.
According to Woman’s Day, one of the women who received the content via social media said that she met the player in question in a bar. One of the women claims a player wrote in his messages to her “I want it now”, and “Wanna be bad?”.
The players may have been “idiots”, and even cheaters. Maybe they are “bad role models”. Sure, this could be another example of footy players behaving poorly.
But that’s not the most important thing.
These men might also be victims of crime.
In Victoria, it is a criminal offence to maliciously distribute intimate images without the person’s consent. Offenders can face up to two years’ imprisonment for distributing these intimate images (and up to a year for threatening to distribute images).
That law is designed to prevent “revenge porn”, where the recipient of an intimate image sends it to other people (or posts them to a website) in order to shame the person in the photo.
Nine out of ten times it’s women who are victims of this crime. Last year, in one attack, 500 women from Adelaide had nude images stolen and posted to a “revenge porn” website in the United States.
Stealing, distributing and viewing these stolen images is a form of sexual assault, and the damage done to victims is devastating. The images are often distributed or uploaded by an angry ex-partner, an extortionist, an opportunistic hacker or rapist, along with identifying information about the victim.