Culture House Daily

To avoid revenge porn, don’t let someone film you having sex

7 April 2014

3:02 PM

7 April 2014

3:02 PM

How do you solve a problem like revenge porn? It’s a strange new social evil. More and more men are getting back at women who dump them by posting sex videos and/or photos of them online, along with their name and contact details for all to see. It’s not just a nasty man thing, either — apparently some bitter women are doing it, too.

The whole saga begins, in the public eye at least, with celebrities: Paris Hilton and the singer Tulisa, among others, had embarrassing sex tapes published on the web. In Tulisa’s case the dirty vid emerged just as her new album was out, which must been terrible timing for her and very painful.

As a subject, revenge porn has everything our web-traffic-obsessed media wants. Slebs, sex, porn, the net. Tick tick tick tick. Click click click click. Actually, by banging on about revenge porn, journalists may have helped turn it into a phenomenon.

[Alt-Text]


Revenge porn is a proper ‘issue’ now — worth debating on Loose Women or Jeremy Kyle. There’s a petition asking David Cameron to ban it and a hashtag, #banrevengeporn. It has 2,5000 signatures already. Its author, Heather Robertson, started the campaign after she got royally revenge-porned by her army boyfriend. She hopes to make what happened to her a sex crime, like rape. ‘It should be encrypted into an act about privacy online, or in the sexual offenders act of sexual harassment act,’ she told The Telegraph. ‘The idea is that the effect it has on your life should be recognised.’

Well, I feel for poor Heather and anyone who finds embarrassing pictures of themselves made public, especially if they never consented to having the images taken (though there are privacy laws in place to deal with this). But surely the answer is not more laws, which would be hard to define and possibly quite limiting of free speech, but for women (and men) to realise that if you let somebody film you in flagrante then you may be setting yourself up for a future disgrace. In the digital age, especially, you are dicing with danger.

I know I know, I’m being a prude. Filming yourselves having sex is just a really bloody normal and sexy thing for consenting adults to do now, like using dildos or wearing bondage gear. Get real man. The bad thing is not the act, but the publication of the material without consent — the breach of trust and so on.

Yet does anyone stop to think about why DIY porn is so popular? Might it not be precisely because it is dangerous? You are recording — committing to film, laying down as reviewable evidence — one of the most private things you can do with a human being. It’s seedy because it is risky. That’s why people feel an urge to do it.

More and more, we expect some official agency to restore our dignity by punishing those who humiliate us. But if you have allowed some creepy bloke (or girl) to turn you into an unwilling porn star, you probably deserve a fair share of the blame.

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Show comments
  • Jack

    nsit: not safe in taxis

  • The Bellman

    Hmmm. Could we be close to learning something important here? That the concepts of honour and shame have some social value and function? That the honour of a gentleman who stoops so low as to exploit the vulnerability of a consenting partner in this activity is faulty – and that he should suffer social consequences? That shame might accrue to a lady if she should consent to do something like this – just because your iPhone means you *can*?
    That prescriptive rules are of no practical use once the underlying foundations are eroded and can no longer be assumed to be understood by the majority of our social peers?
    Maybe that – even if they couldn’t articulate it in terms which fitted the pet theories of the post-war campus – it turns out our predecessors knew something worthwhile after all, and weren’t just being controlling squares trying to keep you in little boxes and oppress your ‘right to sexuality’ – whatever that means.

  • StephanieJCW

    So essentially never trust somebody you are in a relationship with.

    Yep that sounds realistic.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Never trust anybody except your dog. And occasionally your cat.

      • Liz

        Don’t men complain when women treat them as potential rapists?

        • Fergus Pickering

          I have no idea what ‘men’ think. Or ‘women’ for that matter. At my age I would be flattered to be thought of as a potential rapist.But that is me personally. I don’t speak for anyone else. You, on the other hand, speak for half the human race, do you not. Or maybe just Liz.

  • Raw England

    All hatred and aggression needs to be aimed at Trolls. For its they who are directly destroying our Freedoms, and destroying our Internet.

    They’re destroying our Freedoms because, due to Trolls, governments and those in power are implementing harsher and harsher restrictions in order to try and contain it.

    And when I say ‘Trolls’, I don’t mean anyone who disagrees with something; I’m referring to the Trolls and Hackers who target people and viciously destroy their lives. Most of these sinister Trolls and Hackers are either (a) Foreign, non-White or far Left or (b) Sadistic, murderous scum who buzz from making people kill themselves. Or both (a) and (b).

    • allymax bruce

      It’s not so simple as blaming Trolls; the ‘Establishment, by Design, want to impose more and more restrictions on us, so they can control us better. Thus, they employ Trolls, of whom constitute grievous/offensive attacks on people using Frees Speech, & Freedom of Speech; the continuing ‘retribution’ on these attacks ‘musters-in’ more laws to stop trolling attacks.
      It’s the fundamental Thesis, Anti-Thesis ploy from the Establishment.

  • Liz

    To avoid revenge p*rn, don’t look at private photos or videos taken by a person (usually a man) without the subject (usually a woman) ‘s knowledge and/or, don’t distribute them. Don’t blame or deride the victim (usually a woman) for trusting men. Don’t institute a code of conduct for the targets (usually women).

    Rather destroy them, or better yet report them, shame and blame the producer and distributors of them, lobby against the website owners who host and invite and incite them, lobby for a change in a law to outlaw their activity, support education in schools about enthusiastic consent and respect and equality.

    In summary, to avoid revenge p*rn, be a decent human being, rather than somebody who violate people (usually women) or enables their violators.

    • Cyril Sneer

      Were you in a video once?…

  • allymax bruce

    Here’s the poem.
    Corbie: could a’ liv wi masel
    (witnessing Liz)
    by allymax

    could a’ liv wi masel
    knowin a’ voted no the day afore
    could a’ liv wi masel
    no closin thon door

    the doubtin the hatin
    the cringin n’ wrath
    why dae a’ always pit blocks in ma path

    a’ could’ve voted yes
    a’ could’ve cheenged everythin
    just once firever
    a’ wid’ve been happier
    bein me in ma skin

    yes ma life is dark
    but no ma ither me lives in hate
    yes a’m a cringer
    yes but no a’m a day too late

    could a’ liv wi masel
    could a’ liv wi masel
    could a’ liv wi masel
    if a’ voted no

    All Rights Reserved to allymax
    Last Post Productions

    • Fergus Pickering

      Don’t give up the day job, Allymax. But I’ve read worse poems, some of them by poets laureate. Are you putting in fr the position in Independent Scotland?

      • allymax bruce

        Hi Fergus; my poem is supposed to rancour in your/the readers soul. I have succeeded! Yes, the poem is meant to encourage Scots to search their soul; and ask why they are so doubting in trusting their inherent nous. I mean, why the doubt? The whole point is the tv cameras are the medium to which the people are being enslaved; people are being led to think the way the propaganda ‘dark noise’ wants them to think; negatively and doubtful. If you search my comments, you find the ‘backdrop’ to this whole phenomenon. I will however, be putting up a Marshall McLuhan-esk exposition in the near future. Thanks for your comment, Fergus.

      • Kitty MLB

        Dear Fergus, Ally writes the most enchanting poetry( as does sir Walter Scott) in fact both have led me (Ally really) to the tragic story
        of Madeleine, Scotland’s Queen for the most fleeting of moment
        and her heartbroken husband.
        Although, I am not quite sure of this piece from Ally’s to be
        quite honest. He usually produces
        poetry that makes the soul sing.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Interesting to know. Thank you for telling me.

          • Kitty MLB

            Maybe one day, it would be nice if we could
            have the pleasure and honour of a spot
            of poetry from Fergus.

            • Fergus Pickering

              Well, you never know, Kity. You never know.

              • Kitty MLB

                Its would be greatly appreciated. Even just a few fleeting words
                I know they would be as exquisite as the sun that shines through the
                early morning mist and the first blue bells of spring.
                As you said, we never know. Your poetry would be memorable
                but if you wish to keep your light hidden under a bushel,
                then that is your right, my dear Fergus, that is your right..

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Sweet Song

                  She didn’t love the boy who loved her,
                  She loved another boy who said
                  He loved her but he didn’t love her,
                  Loved another girl instead,

                  Who loved him a while, then left him,
                  Left him loveless, left him lorn,
                  She bereft him when she left him
                  Wishing he had not been born.

                  In the air the sounds of leaving.
                  On the sleeve the broken heart.
                  On the tongue the old deceiving
                  Overturns the applecart.

                  Love’s sweet song goes on for ever,
                  Tinkling like September rain.
                  Love is gone and Love will never,
                  Never,never, never, never,
                  Never light your life again.

                  A little sad perhaps.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Thought provoking and leaves the reader, wondering what if.
                  Remembering lost and unrequited love. The frailty of
                  the heart is what makes us human. Yet without love the human heart would be like a sunlit garden without flowers.
                  Yes a little sad dear Fergus, but the type of sadness
                  that can still retain warmth. And memorable, thank you.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  You are very welcome, Kitty. I wrote it for my younger daughter.

                • Kitty MLB

                  I am sure she treasures it, and her thoughtful father.
                  Ours left when we were small ( we were noisy) yet
                  in adulthood I am very quiet, private and shy. Although I can
                  write to kingdom come- lucky God gave me hands, or
                  I would have come a bit unstuck, Fergus, just a bit.
                  ( I will not delete, your daughters beautiful poem.)

  • allymax bruce

    I’d like to state it’s ok to snub your nose at PC convention; thus, stick ‘it’ right in their face! See below.
    Last Thursday I went to another iReferendum debate, with presentations from
    Alison Johnstone, Marco Biagi, Tommy Shepherd, (he wasn’t invited, but turned up anyway!), & Liz Lochhead.
    Three ‘political pundits’, and one poet. I’m a definite Yes voter, bored
    with the ‘political pundits’, (Alison was the best political presenter
    though), and was interested in Liz’s ’emotional’ expositionreading, of a
    dark, self-inspection character, called Corbie. I thought it
    represented very well the STV, BBC, Press ‘dark noise’ hate being
    spewed-out into Scots society; effecting the Scottish Psyche in a
    negative way. A’ wiz in ma element tae delve intae this character’,
    Corbie, because it represented something that was happening, but not
    being reported. Corbie, as a nagging, crowing doubt, imputed into the
    minds of the populace by the ‘dark noise’ media, was the only real
    vehicle that depicted the self-loathing malfeance of the doubters,
    cringers, and haters. As such, the MSM use this ‘vehicle’ to control what is being pumped out into society; (Marshall McLuhan -esk). So, I entered the Q&A fray, knowing full well
    the church hall accoustics, the medium, the zeitgeist, was perfect for
    the delivery; and the ‘dark noise’ perpetrators, the tv cameras, which
    comes to facilitate and be a vehicle for, the self-deprecating of the
    Scottish Psyche, the demon TV cameras, were there to capture their own
    ‘character’/controlling message for posterity! And here it is, in a self-loathing,
    self-hating, doubting poem. I’d like to thank Liz Lochhead for giving
    this Corbie character to epitomise the TV ‘dark noise’.

    • P_S_W

      And your point regarding this article is what exactly?

      • allymax bruce

        My point is, by allowing the censorship of our body-corporate/image, to be ‘appropriated’ by the establishment/MSM/TV/Press, is stripping us of our own Freedom of Expression, and Free Speech. I see people shy away from tv cameras, because they know their image/content/what they say/mean, can/will be bastardised to mean/show what the ‘dark noise’ wants to say. That’s a control !
        Get with it bucko, or get out of the way.

  • Liz

    I recommend people refer to an article by Prof. Mary Anne Franks, Adventures in Victim Blaming: Revenge P*rn Edition, on the Concurring Opinions site, for a point by point, rebuttal to the arguments put forward in this blog.

  • Liz

    To avoid revenge p*rn, don’t send intimate films of your girlfriend to p*rn sites, her family and employer. Also don’t hack a woman’s Facebook account and steal photos of her to share with your bros.

  • Liz

    Another precaution for women to add to their ever growing list of reduced civil rights. I’ll just pop it alongside the 500 other ones about places and people to avoid, how to dress, where to park, what transport to use, how much overtime I can do, how to date, where to exercise, where to leave my drink, when I can leave the house, how to arrange my features, where to look, how to walk, tie my shoes, how to speak.

    All so that we don’t have to hold men accountable for their behaviour.

    How on earth did we get to a situation where we have to *expect* men to harass, attack, blackmail, humiliate us? And we get the blame if we trust they won’t? What kind of screwed up society does that?

    • Davidh

      “places and people to avoid, how to dress, where to park, what transport
      to use, how much overtime I can do, how to date, where to exercise,
      where to leave my drink, when I can leave the house, how to arrange my
      features, where to look, how to walk, tie my shoes, how to speak”

      Yes – life is just so complicated once you accept a bit of responsibility.

      • Liz

        Responsibility for what?

        It’s the *criminals* who are responsible Davidh, not their targets. They are morally responsible adult males, not animals, not natural hazards, not mentally ill.

        Only a man could possibly think that the discriminatory precautions women have to take equate to “a bit”.

        • Cyril Sneer

          We get it, you hate men.

          • Ridcully

            Viz’s Millie Tant brought to life.

            • em diar

              Nice one, Sid the sexist.

              • Ridcully

                My pleasure, Terry Fuckwitt.

          • jimmyboy99

            You think a woman who points out that a man is being privileged sexist must hate men? I don’t hate men (and I am one) – and I recognise the entirely unreasonable precautions women have to make all the time, each and very day, because we have a culture that allows and perpetuates violence against women.
            Denying it and denigrating those who point it out (aways from a position of no personal knowledge) helps those committing such violence.

            Congratulations.

      • StephanieJCW

        Responsibility for what? If I am carjacked do I share responsibility because I had a car?

        Or for trusting someone?

      • jimmyboy99

        Fair point. It’s always a woman’s responsibility when she gets raped right?
        Is this 2014 or did I just slip through a time vortex back to 1950?
        How about looking up the word “consent” and seeing what it means

      • Rocksy

        How dare you introduce the idea of ‘responsibility’. This is about ‘rights’.
        The right to do as we damn well please and not risk any consequences. The right to engage with questionable partners in very private and intimate behaviour. So there.

    • StephanieJCW

      Expect ‘all’ men too. So if my husband suggests we make a naughty movie I should refuse, as we may divorce and he may put said film on the net and then I would be partially to blame…

      I wonder, if my friend robs my house, is it my fault for inviting them round so they could check out my stuff?

      • Fergus Pickering

        Yes, you should refuse. Did you marry a dirty old man?

        • jimmyboy99

          Right – so let’s get this clear: anyone the victim of exploitation, who doesn’t share your (I’m sure they’re lovely) morals, has brought it on themselves?
          Got it.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Pretty much.

    • Teacher

      Every single one of these precepts relates to men too. Torvald was as rulebound as Nora. Men are accountable in law and social convention.

    • SimonToo

      The bigoted sexism of your comment is outrageous. The article does not refer to precautions that are the sole province of women. It addresses what is sensible for all people to do and to avoid.

      • jimmyboy99

        Except that women have to take lots more precautions than men, each and every day, so it’s not equivalent.
        And when people have to take precautions all the time against people exploiting them, the answer isn’t to blame those who didn’t get the precautions right but to go after those who have violated someone else’s consent.

        • Rocksy

          Who’s blaming? This is a suggestion which anyone can take or leave.
          I find it all pathetic and boring….consigning to video sexual behaviour that is.
          It’s all In the same league as those ghastly wedding pics taken on tightropes and hot air balloons or dogs (no insult intended) dressed up in silly costumes. Seems like a huge, tasteless, boring cliché.

    • Fergus Pickering

      That’s life.

  • Liz

    Prude.

  • Liz

    Anyone would think men aren’t moral agents or something. That they’re some kind of natural disaster that women have to take precautions around. Same old victim blaming instead of perpetrator responsibility.

    • Ridcully

      When you go out, do you leave your front door open? Obviously, if you were to come back and find your house had been burgled, this would not in any way excuse or justify the burglar’s actions, but heaven forbid that you should have to take any responsibility by locking that door behind you as you left.

      • Nan Noxious

        Yes, and the last time I was burgled people were falling over themselves to ask if I’d locked the door, to ask what neighborhood I lived in, to ask if any windows were open just a lil bit. Then they tut tutted and told me I should have locked my doors, shut my windows, moved to a better neighborhood, but you know, that was no justification for my being burgled.

        • Ridcully

          Never said it was.

      • StephanieJCW

        What a moronic comparison.

        We are talking about ex partners taking revenge. People they were once in loving, committed, relationships with.

        To make your nonsense make sense, the comparable ‘burglary’ example would be a woman going out with friends and leaving her boyfriend at her home. Only to discover he has robbed it and sold all her stuff on line.

        Nobody would argue she bears some blame for trusting him with her possessions, so why make the same excuse when someone places private photos online?

        • Ridcully

          My reply was to Liz’s victim-blaming comment, which is a straw man (sorry, straw person). Nobody, me included, is trying to defend or excuse the action of men (and occasionally women, as the article points out) who perform such a spiteful vindictive act. They are truly despicable excuses for human beings- happy now? That said, there is an argument, however you may choose not to countenance it, for not putting yourself in harm’s way in the first place.

    • StephanieJCW

      What’s worse is the implication that you can never trust any man. Even those you are in a relationship with.

      • SimonToo

        Trust is relative. The question “Do you trust so-and-so?” misses the point. The question can only be “How much do you trust so-and-so?” Committing one’s bedroom (kitchen table or wherever) frolics to digital imagery is extremely risky behaviour.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Never trust a man, particularly one you are in a relationship with. Men are untrustworthy when it comes to women. Your mother should have told you this. The converse is also true, but we’re not talking about that now.

  • Liz

    You do know that telling women to go through expecting and accepting men behaving as discriminatory sociopaths is total buck-passing bollocks right?

    • Ridcully

      But we are buck-passing sociopaths. It must be true, it said so in The Guardian.

      • jimmyboy99

        But you definitely are a buck-passing sociopath. Your posts here are pretty conclusive evidence.

  • AndrewMelville

    Seems rather obvious.

  • Liz

    You do know that heterosexual women have as much right to a sexuality as heterosexual men and homosexual men and women? That the right to a sexuality is a human right? That expecting women to take extra precautions and desexualise themselves to be safe from harm is discrimination, right?

    • Davidh

      Got to be a troll, right???

      • Liz

        When you ignore the genderised dimension of this crime, it’s easy to ignore the discriminatory nature of the advice to take precautions.

        • P_S_W

          You’ve been very busy today.

    • Cyril Sneer

      Women have to take precautions, you are physically less capable of protecting yourselves. If I was to get drunk and end up in the gutter I could very well be robbed. So I avoid getting that drunk – it’s a shame that there are many young women out there who take no such precautions. You can’t do much about what other people do but you can handle yourself in the right way and not put yourself in compromising situations. You have to protect yourself first by taking those precautions – nothing sexist in it.

      • Doris Von Pamplemousse

        If you were drunk and ended up in the gutter and got robbed it would still. be.robbery and you could still prosecute with very little fear of being told to “accept responsibility” because you made a bad choice.

        You can’t do much about what other people do, but you can prosecute them when they break the law,

      • StephanieJCW

        “If I was to get drunk and end up in the gutter I could very well be robbed. ”

        So if a man is raped while drunk, he shares some blame?

        Got it.

        And you do realise a tiny, tiny % of rapes are drunken woman vs. a stranger? Most women know their attackers. So I cannot ever get drunk in front of people I know, ‘just in case’? How about teaching people that they should ensure they have consent first?

  • Liz

    You do know that women are oftener filmed without their knowledge and/or consent, right? Voyeurs set up cameras in toilets and changing rooms and bedrooms, hackers hack webcams and email accounts, rapists film their victims, sexual harassers secretly take creep shots on public transport.

    You do *know* this, right?

    • P_S_W

      I’m guessing that you never got as far as this bit, right?

      “anyone who finds embarrassing pictures of themselves made public, especially if they never consented to having the images taken (though there are privacy laws in place to deal with this).”

      • Doris Von Pamplemousse

        The laws don’t work, that’s the point.

        But hey, you have a valid point. Everything is just fine the way it is. Laws are always perfect the first time written and never need updating to deal with new technology.

        • SimonToo

          If the laws do not work, what would be the point of another one?

          • em diar

            Absolutely. I mean, If my car breaks down I’ll just have to start using buses. What would be the point of having it fixed or buying a new car?

          • jimmyboy99

            What’s your solution to this massive problem? Do you have any ideas other than blaming the victim?

  • chump23

    There has been (maybe) 5 seconds of research on this article. If the writer had done anymore work, he would never have allowed his name anywhere near such a stupid piece.

  • formonitoring

    Hey genius

    might it also be that some women do not know they are being filmed? With HD video cameras available in pinhole sizes, and concealed in ‘nannycams’ – hidden in household objects to keep an eye on the staff – the practice of filming conquests is well-known. Did it occur to you to do some research on the topic, before using it as a peg for convenient political moralising?

    • ClausewitzTheMunificent

      Well in that case, can’t you get at them by arguing breach of privacy? No special laws need to be enacted. Just use your common sense and the laws that are already in palce.

      • formonitoring

        that wasn’t grey’s core point. his addled conservative argument was that women were a victim of the immodesty of our age, wanting it all, blah, blah….with no acknowledgment that some/many may be victims of sleazebags. because it didnt occur to him, and he did no research.

        • P_S_W

          Not quite:

          “anyone who finds embarrassing pictures of themselves made public, especially if they never consented to having the images taken (though there are privacy laws in place to deal with this).”

          Maybe you should have read the whole thing.

          • Doris Von Pamplemousse

            There was nothing there to read except for an undocumented and dubious claim that privacy laws are sufficient everywhere for everyone,

            On the face of it that sounds like a stupid claim, but go ahead and demonstrate it if you think it’s true.

            • Doris Von Pamplemousse

              PS NSA, Just thought I’d throw that out there.

              Because everyone knows legal privacy trumps everything everywhere always.

            • SimonToo

              The web makes it available internationally, but the Spectator is a British publication and its default target audience is British. Others may be welcome to read it, but it is not written from an international perspective.

    • chump23

      Very much this. Thanks formonitoring.
      And as for clauswitz, no, once things get on the internet, you are stuffed.

    • Liz

      Even if they do know, that’s no excuse for their boyfriends to behave like sexist sociopaths.

  • Cyril Sneer

    I was in a naughty video once… but one of my female friends nicked the DVD. After a heavy nights drinking I, along with 5 of my female friends (only guy on a night out good times) returned to my place. I proceeded to make them all a drink only to hear much whooping and hollering. I came up to see all my female friends crowded round my telly watching me doing my stuff. I never managed to get that DVD back, I heard that it had done the rounds amongst my social circle…. meh I’m not shy….

    • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

      *tips hat*

  • Raw England

    As brilliant as it is, the Internet is akin to hundreds of millions of genocidal, deranged, literal murderers running around with total impunity.

    • Liz

      Total impunity. Enabled and emboldened by victim blamers like this guy.

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