The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Published 5/29/13 | Log In
Women harmed when photos made public
By CATHERINE LAGOA, Staff Reporter
Published: February 13, 2013
Many college students in romantic relationships wrestle with when or if they’ll become intimate with their partner.
But when a partner asks for an intimate photo, many worry about what would happen to that photo if the relationship sours.
“I almost thought it was a joke because we would always joke about how ridiculous it would be if we were to send each other photos,” one female Seattle Pacific student said.
All students quoted in this article spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of sharing intimate photos with others.
“I chose to not send him a picture of me … needless to say, we are no longer dating, but this experience taught me a lot,” she said.
Others, however, are not so lucky.
In a growing trend known as ‘revenge porn,’ websites are set up in which men post compromising photos of their exes.
About two weeks ago, 23 women filed a class action lawsuit against Texxxan.com and its web host Go Daddy.
According to ABC News, Mariana Taschinger was one of the victims of the website who was willing to share her experience.
At 18, she sent a topless photo to her boyfriend of a year and a half.
“He was like, you know I love you; I would never do that, I would never want to share you with anyone,” she said.
That choice unexpectedly backfired on her five years later in college.
Her name, address and social media accounts were linked to the images, turning it from an embarrassing situation to a potentially dangerous one.
This trend has left Taschinger and many other women vulnerable to harassment, insults and threats from people that they don’t know on the internet.
Also, employers can easily search the web for an applicant’s name and find these images, which diminishes opportunities for landing a job.
Even though this particular website was shut down, there are still many
others that exist in cyberspace.
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets make sharing these comprising photos even easier. An SPU female shared that she had a naked photo taken of her by an ex with a mobile device while she was sleeping.
She said she later suffered from feelings of shame and embarrassment when she discovered that the photos were circulating via text.
In an informal poll of 30 female students that attend SPU, 10 of them said they’ve sent an intimate photo to a boyfriend.
Seventeen said they’ve been asked to send one.
Fifteen said that they would consider sending one.
During the survey one woman admitted that she knew a girl in high school who was kicked out because of a nude photo people circulated.
Revenge porn was started by Hunter Moore, 26, who launched his “Is Anyone Up” website back in 2010.
The idea was generated to express some resentment Moore felt toward his ex. He blogged nude photos of her on the website.
Eventually, Moore faced lawsuits that included charges such as harassment and invasion of privacy.
According to the Huffington Post, Moore was forced to remove his website, and in a compensational effort, produced an anti-bullying website: Bullyville.com.
“Attempting to destroy someone’s character is not OK,” said Tina Schermer Sellers, an instructor of marriage and family therapy at SPU.
Besides tarnishing someone’s character, Sellers said that media and society inadvertently make women believe that it is not okay to be sexual. “Women have the right for [photos] to be private … We need to invite men to be part of a difference, to stop objectifying women,” Sellers said.
There are many precautions that women can take to protect themselves.
Womenagainstrevengeporn.com, is a website dedicated to the victims of revenge porn, but it also opens the conversation to those who have not yet been affected.
The website tells people to search their name every so often, making sure to put their full name in quotations in the search engine.
It also encourages women to set guidelines and rules with their partner about what is acceptable. Or perhaps just simply not sending photos at all.
Despite efforts, revenge porn will likely remain a part of the internet and an issue that people face.
If you are, or know someone who is a victim of sexual harassment, Seattle Pacific provides counseling at the Student Counseling Center, located in Watson Hall.