opinion

The man who posted this photo is not a monster. He's something far more frightening.

You can see the sweat on his back as he bends over the woman you later discover he is having sex with. He looks like some kind of sinister gargoyle on the side of a medieval building ready to attack.

But he’s not. He’s an ordinary Australian man who had sex with a woman then decided to film it and upload images from that video onto a private Facebook men’s group. It happens all the time apparently. It’s called revenge porn by popular culture and increasingly ‘image based abuse’ from those who are trying to make people understand these are not “sexy” images, these are photographs of women who, due to the absence of their consent and often the absence of their knowledge, are being abused as we look.

It strongly appears the woman did not give consent to these images being posted and had no knowledge of the man’s actions. In the private men’s Facebook group in which she is laid bare she is reportedly not covered by a black strip. She is naked, vulnerable, in the midst of a private act, beneath the sweating gargoyle who shared these naked images and decided to write above them: What’s the biggest whale you have harpooned?’ I went through a tubby phase and landed this 130 kg beast.

This image was posted to a private men's Facebook group, seemingly without the woman's consent. (Image: Facebook)
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There are 14,500 men in the private men's Facebook group. The comments began as soon as the post was uploaded. Other, no doubt, sweating men behind screens and keyboards joined in the abuse. More than 100 men chimed in chanting with hate and bile toward the "whale" on the bed. There was abuse, judgement and objectification (what a clinical name for such a personal, harmful act). There were calls to choke her, feed her a sandwich, go harder.

The man who posted the screen shots, who I cannot name for legal reasons although I would so desperately like to, added to the comments thread with more photographs of him having sex with the "130kg beast".

Hey lads heres [sic] the other photos. he wrote between a commenter posting five laughing emojis and you need Jesus after this humpback whale and that is bordering on beastiality and Oh look, she's wearing a Fitbit.

In the midst of more than 100 savage, violent and degrading comments, the commenters have capped the words Jesus and Fitbit.

They have capped the word Fitbit for Christsakes. That's a man who understands the English language and proper nouns.

These men do not look like savages on the outside. They are not "filthy low lifes". They are men walking in office blocks and building sites, having dinner with their mums and girlfriends, maybe even their children.

And they think this is normal "banter"? They think this is "normal" behaviour? They think nothing of a man posting non-consensual photographs of a sexual encounter and then all of them joining in on the assault?

For all the men who say that is not fair, that not all men are like that and this is a small group that doesn't represent real life, where are the men in that group of 14,500 who stood up and said NO?

Listen: Mamamia Out Loud discuss the blurred lines of consent in the Luke Lazarus rape case (post continues after audio...)

One man, Hayden Brien did. He is a member of the private men's Facebook group and brought the post to public attention and now he is receiving death threats.

Think about it: they flick through their mobiles as they walk past their wife to put the kettle on in the kitchen or check their laptops as their colleagues ask for clarification or walk down their hallway after they tuck their daughter into bed and a woman lies naked in front of them, most probably without her consent, vulnerable and violated and their choice is to abuse and degrade - not to protect.

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What kind of man makes that choice?

Then there are the men that are silent. The just-as-bad men. How could so many men say nothing? How could that many men turn away?

Instead of decency, no, it's not decent to do the right thing, it should be human. Instead of being human they chose pack savagery. What does that say?

It says that more men than I could ever have imagined truly and deeply hate women. They hate women to their core.

According to Brien, the whistleblower, Facebook doesn't believe these images go against "any of their community standards" and will not take them down. Breastfeeding women do though.

"These men do not look like savages on the outside. You might even know one." (Image: iStock)

Oh, what a fair and equitable world women live in. This post is living, breathing, hating proof.

The unnamed man who I would so desperately like to name, who has set up another Facebook account now, walks around without, as yet, a sliver of consequence.

He's probably brushing past women's breasts deliberately as he waits in line for his morning coffee. Or getting bored by the hours and hours of hard core porn he watches every day. He's probably high-fiving his mates after shouting abuse at a woman at the pub for telling him to leave her alone.

Or maybe he's helping a work mate move a desk.

He's probably being called a "good bloke".

And that's the thing.

What would happen if I named today's poster who had sex with a "130kg beast" and posted images of her without her consent? What would happen if I named the commenters who abused her or the men who stayed silent when a woman was being degraded, violated and abused?

Would it change anything?

Would it shock you, or would they be sitting right next to you?

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