SPE­CIAL RE­PORT: NUDE SELF­IES

...and how to pro­tect our­selves.

Dolly - - Contents -

How to pro­tect your­self.

You may not have heard about the porn ring that’s run­ning wild through Aus­tralian schools, but it’s some­thing ev­ery­one should know about. Put sim­ply, boys have been post­ing pri­vate pics of high­school girls (friends, girl­friends, ex-girl­friends) on a ded­i­cated porn web­site for the whole world to see, and each one that’s posted gives the guy who put it there a ‘win’. Soon after it was launched, the web­site quickly filled up with re­quests: “Any­one have any Wenona wins?”, “I’ve got heaps of Mi­ami High girls. Kik me if you wanna trade!”, “Who has nudes of this b*tch? I hear she throws it around!”, “Add this sl*t on Snapchat, might be ugly but a good root”. It’s in­cred­i­bly shock­ing for us to hear reg­u­lar high-school boys are be­hav­ing like this, but imag­ine how hor­ri­fy­ing it’s been for the vic­tims. Foren­sic psy­chol­o­gist Ali­cia Cor­bett ex­plains that the guys in­volved in this most likely suf­fer from ex­tremely poor so­cial skills. “Th­ese in­di­vid­u­als tend to have dif­fi­culty un­der­stand­ing and manag­ing their own psy­chol­ogy and emo­tions. This, cou­pled with poor so­cial skills, of­ten means they have very poor re­la­tion­ships, so the in­ter­net be­comes a source for con­nect­ing,” she says. “For preda­tors who look at un­der­age pornog­ra­phy, there is of­ten a fo­cus on the el­e­ment of con­trol; many of them are able to sa­ti­ate their need for power and con­trol by tar­get­ing younger vic­tims in vul­ner­a­ble sit­u­a­tions.” The boys in­volved in this are com­pletely to blame for ex­ploit­ing and dis­re­spect­ing the vic­tims, but it’s es­sen­tial to re­mem­ber that no selfie is ever 100 per cent se­cure. Shar­ing a pic might seem harm­less at the time, es­pe­cially if it’s with your boyfriend who you love and trust, but what if you break up one day? Once you hit send on that ‘for his eyes only’ pic, you lose con­trol over what hap­pens to it and, as the girls on the next page dis­cov­ered, they can end up be­ing seen by thou­sands of peo­ple.

AUS­TRALIAN BOYS HAVE BEEN POST­ING PRI­VATE PICS OF HIGH-SCHOOL GIRLS ON A DED­I­CATED PORN WEB­SITE FOR THE WORLD TO SEE.

W‘IT HAP­PENED TO ME’

hen news.com.au ex­clu­sively broke the porn ring story, a few girls de­cided to share their ex­pe­ri­ences as a way of spread­ing aware­ness to other young women. Four years ago, Me­gan, now 20, sent out nude pho­tos. This year she found them on the un­der­age porn web­site. “I in­stantly broke down. I was shak­ing. I didn’t know what to do,” she told Triple J’s Hack. “I haven’t slept, I can’t eat, I can’t think.” Sarah, now 18, Snapchat­ted nude pics to a guy at her school when she was 15. It was sup­posed to be pri­vate, but he shared them with his friends. Then things got even worse – she found them on­line. “It is scary think­ing those pho­tos are out there. It is dis­gust­ing,” she told The Daily Tele­graph. “I know so many girls who are on that web­site.” Two years ago, when Tiahna was 16, she posed naked while she was on a boat, and that photo was sent out as a pri­vate In­sta mes­sage. Then she learnt ‘bonus points’ were be­ing awarded to guys who posted more naked pics of her on the web­site. “It was like I had been sold,” she ex­plained to the team at news.com. au. “It’s just hor­ri­ble, es­pe­cially when they want it of you specif­i­cally – that’s when it’s re­ally dis­turb­ing.” Madeleine*, now 20, was horrified when she re­alised pho­tos she’d posed for naked at the age of 15 – be­cause of the prom­ise of be­com­ing a model – were now on­line. “It’s dis­gust­ing and vile,” she told news.com.au. “Stuff like this could push some­one over the edge.” Some mums even felt so strongly about what has been hap­pen­ing that they did ev­ery­thing in their power to bring at­ten­tion to the is­sue. After all the girls at her daugh­ter’s school were called in to an assem­bly to be lec­tured on the topic, Cather­ine vented on Face­book about how shocked she was that girls were be­ing blamed for what was hap­pen­ing. “[The girls] were … told not to post pho­tos of them­selves on­line, and to refuse any re­quest from a boyfriend for a ‘sexy selfie’, as their boyfriends will only be around for a cou­ple of days – max­i­mum a year – but def­i­nitely not in 10 years’ time,” she wrote. “The prob­lem is not with the girls and the length of their skirts, not whether or not they choose to share pho­tos with their boyfriends of any­one else. It’s with the boys them­selves; their sense of en­ti­tle­ment and sex­ist at­ti­tudes to­wards women and girls, their lack of re­spect, and the trust they choose to break.”

“IT WAS LIKE I HAD BEEN SOLD... WHEN THEY WANT [PHO­TOS] OF YOU SPECIF­I­CALLY, THAT’S WHEN IT’S RE­ALLY DIS­TURB­ING.” TIAHNA, 18 HOW TO PRO­TECT YOUR­SELF

Firstly, and most im­por­tantly, you should probs know it’s il­le­gal to take, keep or share images that con­tain full or par­tial nu­dity of peo­ple un­der the age of 18 – that in­cludes tak­ing them of your­self. If caught, it comes with some pretty heavy con­se­quences, in­clud­ing charges of child abuse and even the risk of be­ing added to the Aus­tralian Sex Of­fend­ers Reg­is­ter (the one that’s usu­ally re­served for the likes of pae­dophiles – eek!). To keep us all in con­trol of our lives, Leonie Smith, cy­ber-safety ed­u­ca­tor at The Cy­ber Safety Lady (the­cy­ber­safety­lady.com.au), has of­fered to share a few point­ers on safely shar­ing images.

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