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Sharing explicit photos without consent is sexual abuse

Media release, for immediate release, 8 October 2014

Sharing explicit photos on social media without consent is sexual abuse

The sharing of explicit photos on a Facebook group is sexual abuse says Sexual Abuse Prevention Network. This behaviour is harmful and we can stop it from happening if the whole community works together to end such behaviour.

This week the public was made aware of a secret Facebook group called "RACK Appreciation Society", containing explicit pictures of young women visible to up to 2000 members, including many male Otago University students as well as a Christchurch “name and shame” page showing similar photos.

“We need sexual abuse prevention education in all schools and tertiary institutions across the country. If universities and schools create a space in which to talk openly about these issues, they demonstrate to students that such incidents are serious and should not occur” says Coordinator for Sexual Abuse Prevention Network, Fiona McNamara.

Sexual abuse prevention workshops are a space in which participants learn about the law, and have the space to consider the impact of actions such as posting explicit photographs without consent, as well as sexual harassment and rape.

“We live in a rape culture where sharing explicit photographs without consent is seen by many as normal behaviour. It is encouraged by websites such as The Edge who reposted the recent leaked nude photographs of celebrities. We need to change these attitudes and behaviours” says McNamara.

This kind of behaviour is not only harmful to the women in the photographs but to all women and survivours of sexual abuse. “Sharing nude photos of someone without their consent is a violation” says McNamara. “Some of the photos were taken without consent and all were shared without consent. If people disrespect their partners and their bodies in that way it is not a big leap to other harmful behaviours.” “This event has highlighted victim blaming attitudes in our society. Saying that someone should not have taken the photos in the first place takes away their agency and right to make their own sexual choices.”

Anyone upset by the content shared can call Wellington Rape Crisis 04 801 8973 or Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation on 04 499 7532.


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