5 tips for avoiding revenge porn

By Kagure Mugo

Selfies, Instagram, iPhone, Snap Chat.

We live in a world where if you don’t take a picture of it, it didn’t happen. People won’t even believe you ate a burger these days unless you post a picture and type #YumYum.

Those in the technology industry have recognised this so now any Tom, Dick and Sally with a smart phone can take pristine photographs in a matter of seconds and upload it to the Internet in even less time. Anytime, anywhere.

Including in the bedroom.

With many phones having 8-megapixel (and above) cameras – a far cry from the 2 megapixels we got excited about in 2004 – taking nude pictures is a blessing and a curse. Whether you come out looking sexy or awkward can go either way but one thing is for sure, you now come out HD.

Couple this with the beast we lovingly call ‘the internet’ and you get a pending recipe for disaster. You can either get a great profile picture or find yourself on the wrong end of an unexpected upload.

We all know the madness and socially unacceptable behaviour that can be incited by a breakup. Calling, riding past people’s houses, crying in the rain, trying to get across the border to get back my original LA Lakers throwback.

Or maybe that is just me.

Now with Twitter and its friends at our fingertips there is a darker side to the way people can conduct themselves during and after break ups: revenge porn.

Revenge porn is universally seen as an act performed by partners who are trying to humiliate former girlfriends after a break up. It is another means by which men attempt to establish dominance over women who are out of their control.Make-voyeurs-a-vanishing-breed’-620x329

And, in turn, becomes a form of abuse.

When in the throes of passion and the first light of love people often feel that allowing partners to take nude pictures of them is exciting/daring/erotic. However, what people do not often count on is the fact that a break up can make people into some of the vilest human beings in the world.

Revenge porn is another way in which women have somehow seemingly lost agency over their bodies as they are then splashed all over the internet. It is a new digital form of abuse that is wildly unregulated. Even in America where this form of abuse is much more common, it was only a few days ago that the first revenge porn perpetrator was jailed.

The problem within our local context is that the response following such an act usually goes the wrong way.

When Uganda singer Desire Luzinda’s breakup saw her ex-boyfriend post nude pictures of her in order to ‘teach her a lesson’, the response was not for people to question the man’s actions and motives but to vilify Luzinda. The Minister of Ethics even called for her arrest, despite the fact that she is a victim of this form of abuse. We shouldn’t have been surprised. After all we accept it as normal for Ugandan blogs to publish lists of all the men a female celebrity has allegedly slept with.

When the female form is splashed as means of punishing a women, that woman is typically both shamed and vilified and the perpetrator usually goes scot-free. And with over 240 million internet users in Africa there are now millions of opportunities for your body to become a point of abuse.

A few tips on keeping yourself out of this situation:

HOLAA

  1. If photos are taken at all, then it should be on your phone/tablet/ camera: thinking someone will have those pictures and your best interests at heart when a break-up happens does not qualify as a logical thought. You cannot simply hope that your ex will conduct themselves in a proper manner if you have a nasty break-up. Hope is not, and never has been, a strategy.
  2. Do not share them!: Unless you are willing to have the other person do what they want with them do not share the photos with anyone.
  3. If someone says ‘send me a sexy photo’, don’t: Telling someone ‘delete this when you look at it’ does not guarantee they will. Nor does it guarantee they will not share it first before they delete it. Again, hope is not a strategy.
  4. Google Drive and Dropbox are not safe storage spaces: Cloud-sharing applications are not leak-proof. Neither are your Facebook inbox or Twitter DM. All someone needs is to access your account or for you to leave a computer logged in.
  5. If someone leaks your photos, it is assault: No matter why they did it or how. Despite there being little legislation on it, with most of it being based in intellectual property, it is assault. And must be dealt with in that manner. Okay, this won’t help you avoid being a victim of revenge porn, but you need to know that it is the other person who has committed the crime, not you.

warningWith images of women’s scantily clad bodies constantly being circulated without permission via social media in a bid to shame/expose women, it seems we have lost even more control of our bodies and how they are portrayed. Once a picture is out there it is extremely hard to get it back. In fact it is basically impossible. With one retweet, one screenshot, one download, the picture is no longer within its owner’s control.

By posting these photos partners are attempting to take away a person’s dignity and right to privacy, as well as their basic right to their own body.

Also it is juvenile.

The assault of the female body is no longer restricted to sexist comments and sexual assault. The internet is providing more ways for women to be torn apart.

The online world can be a cruel place to be for a woman.

First Published on This Is Africa.

For more listicals check out out other HOLAA listicals including Reasons a straight woman shouldn’t say she is about to go gay, reasons to run from someone, 9 reasons every straight man needs a lesbro and one on how to love yourself by being better.

*Have you had any experiences? Comment below, your email address will not be shown on the site and you can put in a fake name.*

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[…] Check out other HOLAA listicals including Reasons a straight woman shouldn’t say she is about to go gay, 9 Reasons every straight man needs a lesbro and 5 tips for avoiding revenge porn. […]

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[…] Check out other HOLAA listicals including Reasons a straight woman shouldn’t say she is about to go gay, reasons to run from someone and love yourself by being better and 5 tips for avoiding revenge porn. […]

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