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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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