Slut Shaming Has Claimed Another Life


Yesterday, a 31-year old woman identified as Tiziana C. committed suicide in her mother’s home outside Naples. For the past year, she had been in a fierce legal battle to have explicit content of herself removed from the internet, all the while suffering a deluge of social media hate for daring to be sexually active.

According to reports, it all started out as a bit of a joke. Tiziana took some sexually explicit videos of herself, and shared them with a couple of her friends. One of them betrayed her trust and sent the video to someone, who sent it to someone else, until eventually it ended up on the internet, on various porn sites complete with her full name.

And so followed the inevitable slut shaming – cyberbullying – victim blaming pipeline. What a slut for having taken those videos of herself! She should have been modest, secretive, and properly ashamed of her sexuality. Let’s all gang up and tell her what a horrible disgusting person she is! Then, let’s justify our actions, because it’s all her fault of course. She shouldn’t have ever done anything sexual in front of a camera, or shown any other living soul if she had. She wanted it. She deserved it.

She was forced to leave her job. She moved to a different region, changed her name, tried to get the courts to remove the content from the internet, but eventually she fell into a deep depression which inevitably claimed her life. Even after her death, the justifications continue to roll in.

When these stories come out, I keep hearing people using these kinds of tragedies as cautionary tales. This should teach us all not to ever film anything sexually explicit! The internet is sooo complicated, it’s just so very hard to draft laws to prevent this kind of thing!

I don’t understand why it is complicated at all. Here’s an idea: no sexually explicit content can be uploaded to the internet without a signed form of consent as to the distribution of that content by the person or persons present in the video in question. There. That’s all it takes. If you find a video of yourself on the internet, and you never gave permission to distribute that video, you can prosecute the person who uploaded the video. That, at least, will be a start in deterring things like revenge porn. It doesn’t matter if you consented to being filmed, there is no watching the sex tape to try to figure out if the person in it knows there is a camera present, because they never consented to having the video distributed in the first place. I mean for Thor’s sake, copyright law seems to have kept up with the internet. People can get fined and prosecuted for uploading and sharing songs, and movies, but somehow we all wring our hands in despair when it comes to amateur porn?

As for the “let’s teach everyone to not every do anything sexy in front of a camera ever”, that’s another form of useless victim blaming. People are sexual creatures, and sexy pictures and videos have been made since the invention of cameras. What needs to happen is a cultural shift in which these kinds of things are just not a big deal anymore.

I remember when I was in high school, and there was a certain boy who really didn’t like me. That was fine, I didn’t much like him either. Except this boy decided to “get me” by spreading a rumor that I was a lesbian with my best friend. Do you know what happened? Absolutely nothing.

The rumor spread. Some people believed it, most people didn’t, but the most important thing was that no one gave a shit. I heard about it by accident a year after it started, and upon questioning some of my peers they all invariably said “oh yea, haha, I heard that rumor from him, I didn’t really believe it, but even if it is true, I really couldn’t care less”. No one teased me, or bullied me, or gave me any kind of heat about it whatsoever, because being gay or being straight was no big deal, and not worth anyone’s time or attention. If I had gone to high school some 20 years earlier, I’m sure that story would have ended very differently.

It would be so great if sex could get to that point. If the conversation could be “Hey! I saw a sexy video of Tiziana on the internet!” “Yea? OK. So what. Anyway, did you watch the match last night?”. No bullying, no jeering, no loss of job or life, and eventually when Tiziana found out about it she could simply walk down to the police station and have them arrest the person who distributed her images without her consent.

Admittedly, we have a long way to go before we reach that point. However, in many places we have when it comes to being gay, and no one ever thought that would be possible. Perhaps I can still hope that, one day, no one will care enough to harass someone online just because a sexy image or video of them leaked onto the internet.

Comments

  1. says

    And it’s not as if you always have control over who takes pics of you.
    You may have heard of the case of Gina Lisa Lohfink: She was probably raped and the video was sold to porn sites. People who watched the video called the police because they thought they’d just watched a woman being raped.
    In the end she was sentenced for “wrongly accusing the men of rape” and they got off much more lightly for selling the video…

    • says

      You may have heard of the case of Gina Lisa Lohfink:

      I had not, until now.

      She was probably raped and the video was sold to porn sites. People who watched the video called the police because they thought they’d just watched a woman being raped.

      Yay for responsible consumers, I guess? Boo for rapists and unethical porn sites.

      In the end she was sentenced for “wrongly accusing the men of rape” and they got off much more lightly for selling the video…

      Wait.

      In the end she was sentenced for “wrongly accusing the men of rape”

      Whaaaaat.

      How the fuck does that even happen?

  2. says

    How the fuck does that even happen?

    Well, you see, she isn’t a good catholic nun who was raped while praying to Jesus. She’s “sexy blonde bombshell” incarnate, her public image was that of the stereotypical sex hungry consumerist attention seeking party girl and she’d willingly made porn before.
    Which obviously means she can’t be raped, right?
    And she’d had fun with the dudes before that!
    And she was seen smiling and waving and blowing kisses on a video one of the dudes made when she left the flat because why would you put your rapist at ease so you might get a chance to get out of there, right? Totally unheard of!
    And she said it felt like she’d been slipped a roofie, but test said she probably hadn’t and that means she’s obviously lying. Makes total sense, right: Everybody making a false accusation would make an easily disproved claim to sustain her case. It’s totally impossible that she might simply have mistaken being very drunk for other drugs.
    Really, the worst isn’t that the actual rape case was dismissed but that she’s now the guilty party, feeding into the “horrible women wrongly accuse innocent guys to get attention”. Because yeah, that’s really what you want, that kind of attention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *