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Over the last few weeks, a girl’s name has been doing the rounds on social media, and not for  a good reason. Men and women alike feast on leaked nude photos and videos of this certain girl. People shamelessly asked for the link, and even more people are ready to give it to anyone asked without second thought. The fact that these photos were shared without the girl’s knowledge — let along permission — didn’t seem to bother these people. All they cared about was having a look at the girl’s nudity, not even thinking about how much damage, shame and torture they’re causing to her life.

The way we flirt and date has undeniably changed over the years, thanks to social media. Meeting, and flirting have become incredibly easier and choosing dating prospects have become instant. But along with these, harassment and emotional blackmail have also become easier to do online.

Aside from all that, technology has also change how we get intimate with someone. Sending a nude picture to your significant other or even just to someone you’re flirting with is no longer a big deal. Nudes can be a way of flaunting one’s body and taking these can be empowering for some. Nudes can also be a way for someone to be more confident and appreciative of his/her own appearance, and that’s all right. The only problem is when we trust these intimate photos to the wrong person.

Revenge porn has been prevalent in the country, and all over the world, even more so in this time of social media. These graphic videos are more accurately called non-consensual pornography. It is spreading sexually graphic photos and videos, that were meant to stay private, with the aim of shaming and emotionally harming the person(s) in the video. While most cases of non-consensual porn were done by ex-lovers, it also happens to people whose online accounts were hacked, or got their properties stolen along with those images, and more.

The question should never be why people take sexual photos of themselves. The question is why are people still feasting over non-consensual porn when there are hundreds of porn on the internet that were made specifically for people to enjoy? These cases aren’t anything new. Remember when leaked nude photos of A-list Hollywood celebrities Jennifer Lawrence, Miley Cyrus, Cara Delevingne circulated on social media, which was disgustingly dubbed as ‘The Fappening’? How about when 15-year-old Filipina actress Andrea Brillantes was violated by thousands of people who watched an alleged sexually explicit video of her? Not only was it non-consensual pornography, it was child pornography as well.

Imagine seeing sexually graphic photos of yourself being passed on by strangers without your consent, not even knowing how it reached them. Have people really grown so apathetic and selfish that we don’t even think of what these victims feel whenever we pass their photos around? Victims of non-consensual pornography often feel helpless and depressed after the incident. Post traumatic disorder (PTSD) is common too; some victims can’t trust anyone sexually and emotionally anymore. Some lose their jobs, some have to move to another town.

How do we even stop and fight back against this modern sex crime when very little amount of laws protect us from it? How do we stop it when hundreds of websites are specifically made for users to upload their ex-lovers’ sexually graphic photos in order to get revenge? Most importantly, how does a victim fight back when they’re experiencing shame, public humiliation, and degradation at the same time?

Non-consensual porn is illegal, wrong, but unfortunately very common. Just because you’re hiding behind a computer screen watching that illicit video, doesn’t mean that you’re not committing a sex crime. Just because all it takes is one click to pass that video, it doesn’t mean that you’re not ruining someone’s life, possibly forever.

Keep in mind that the only mistake these victims made is to trust the wrong people. They don’t deserve the trauma and the humiliation. Don’t ask for that link, or if you ever come across it, don’t play it. Trust me, you’re not missing out on anything.

Illustration by Madel Crudo

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