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Nudes! Image Based Sexual Violence

When I opened my Twitter page today, I was greeted by a tweet bragging about having access to a newly leaked nude video that he was willing to send to anyone who asked for it. This isn't surprising given that another user tweeted the exact same thing but of a different victim just last week and another user the week before that. It is now common for social media users to leak or share other people's nudes.

What perplexes me is that the majority of people blame the victims for filming or taking pictures of themselves. They truly believe that, the victims alone should be blamed and shamed. I recall a certain government minister on speaking out against the leaking of nude pictures or videos online, ended up blaming women for being irresponsible and indecent.

To many social media users, it is just hot news, something scandalous that they forget about the next day after sharing it. The victims, on the other hand, must live with the consequences for the rest of their lives. People forget that it has an impact on people's relationships, careers, and more, but again people don’t care.

Constable Esther Chiunjiza, a police officer, was subjected to a disciplinary hearing and later dismissed in 2017 after her nude video was exposed. Her and the other victims are left to live in shame for something they did in private, out of trust, something that wasn't intended for the public eye.

A lot has to be done to curb this nasty behavior, for starters, reckless terms used to minimize these offenses, such as "revenge porn," should be completely eliminated from our language. Leaking of nude pictures or videos is image-based sexual abuse and it must be addressed as such. It must end because it is wrong on both a moral and legal level. It represents a serious violation of people's basic rights to privacy and dignity. Individuals who purposely leak and share nude pictures or videos must face stiffer punishment.

Women should never be blamed or shamed for choosing to express themselves sexually using images or videos. Those who leak, spread and share must be the ones to be blamed and held responsible.

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