Here’s the thing: when abuse, humiliation, and harassment happen online, they are still abuse, humiliation, and harassment. Suggesting that “online harassment” or abuse is any less “real” than the kind that happens offline is just not accurate.
It’s time to take a closer look at conversations about non-consensual photo or video sharing, with this in mind. We often see the expression “revenge porn” used to describe this form of violence. This is a misleading and unhelpful term, implying the victim did something to deserve “revenge.” That leads to victim-blaming and -shaming, often with gendered criticisms directed at women for their sexual behavior.
Taking and sharing intimate photos and videos can be part of a healthy relationship or intimate experience. What’s important is that people feel safe, respected, and not pressured to share photos or videos. Moreover, our understanding of CONSENT needs to be expanded to include all the nuances created by the ease of taking and sharing photos.
Here’s a breakdown of several types of non-consensual photo and video sharing that you can use to take the conversation further in your campus community. Remember: these practices can be one-offs, or they could be part of a tradition or something that is seen as normal. This doesn’t mean that we have to accept them. If you’re inspired to take action, check out #LetsPictureConsent, a campaign about non-consensual photo sharing from Breakthrough and UCLA’s Bruin Consent Coalition. Want to bring that project to your campus? We’re here to help.