Nude pictures of girls are illegally spread on the internet and sorted into folders by breast size, body shape and municipality. How do we as a society meet the victims in these cases?
“If you want to take part in the game, you get to taste the roast!”
“Thought she was old enough to understand that sensitive images are not stored on the phone.”
“She must have put herself in the shop window, right?”
When handball player Nora Mørk reported a number of men for sharing intimate photos of her, which were initially spread because a young man hacked her mobile phone, she first and foremost received support from the Norwegian people.
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But not only. In the comment fields, messages appeared from those who thought that Mørk could largely thank himself.
Mørk was thus held accountable even though several men were sentenced to pay compensation. Several believed she was responsible for the spread of nude photos, despite the fact that the court system ruled that she was a victim in the case.
This rhetoric has a name. It is called “victim blaming”, and means in short that it is said that the victim, or something about the victim’s behavior, is to blame for the criminal or wrongful act the victim himself was subjected to.
“Has himself to thank”
Dark is not alone in having experienced that intimate images are spread against their will. She is also not alone in being held responsible for images of her own naked body becoming public property on the internet.
When Nettavisen wrote about a female reality participant who reviewed after an intimate picture was spread against her will, these were some of the feedback:
‘They have themselves to thank. They know how fast this is spreading in the media and yet they allow themselves to be portrayed. “
“Here are girls complaining about something they start up themselves, and why?”
When NRK wrote about female models who told about a photographer who tried to force them to take nude photos, this was in the comments field:
“Perhaps it should not mean that poor” models “are being exploited? Isn’t that the smartest path to follow, regardless of whether it’s a disgusting person who wants to take pictures of more than just his mouth? “
“Get yourself a normal job.”
When the victim is blamed
“Victim blaming” is perhaps especially common in cases involving sexual harassment or abuse. The examples are many – also here in Norway.
Seven years ago, it became known that Conservative Tor Johannes Helleland had stolen intimate photos from several girls’ private computer areas and published them online. Then Ola Ødegaard, head of the foundation Rettferd for the losers, went out and thought it was the girls’ fault for having taken nude photos of themselves at all.
READ ALSO: Real girls are not raped
In 2010, Hanne Kristin Rohde of the Oslo Police stated the following: «Women should plan their return trip from the city in advance. In addition, 7 out of 10 rape victims are under the influence of drugs ». Rohde explained that she wanted to prevent rape by warning women, but was met with harsh criticism from several quarters.
– It is difficult to disagree that you have to use your head. But statements like this can lead to rapists blaming themselves for what happened, Marianne Marthinsen (Labor) told Aftenposten.
In 2016, the Andrea Voll Voldum case dominated the media image for many months. After the court acquitted the three men of gang rape, lawyer Brynjar Meling stated in Klassekampen:
“I do not mean that ladies should not be able to wear a short skirt, but a little too often we see that you have ended up in a place you should not have been.”
READ ALSO (+): Mia Landsem (23) has had her life turned upside down after the nude photo case: – Went for a bang
“Nude picture hunter” Mia Landsem, who tracks down those who spread nude pictures of others, is well acquainted with the “victim blaming” rhetoric – and says she will “never understand it”.
– I hear this all the time, and it is the same regardless of action. We apologize to those who hurt others. “You were wearing a short skirt, so you were raped.” “You took a nude photo and sent it to your girlfriend, so it was spread,” says Landsem, and continues:
– Everyone can make mistakes, but trusting their girlfriend is not wrong. It is the one who breaks the trust who makes a mistake. And even if you only show the nude photo to one friend, it holds. He can show it further, and vips then it is shared on a Snapchat group, where someone picks it up and posts it online.
Attacks on a culture
Lars Ingar Tutturen is 20 years old and is currently studying at NTNU.
However, he was only 16 years old and a high school student when he read that hundreds of Norwegian girls had intimate photos spread online, via a server on the Discord app. The toddler reacted with shock, first on behalf of the girls, but then on behalf of those who blamed the girls in the comments field.
“These comments spread a frightening and destructive message to all its readers. A message that says that it is the victim who is guilty of such an act, which thus makes the act harmless to the criminal, “ wrote the 16-year-old in an article in Aftenposten.
READ ALSO: Police warn: Young girls sell nude photos on Snapchat
Well over three years later, Tutturen believes that the topic is at least as important.
– The victims are constantly encouraged to be more careful. The chronicle was an attempt to attack a culture where one consistently tries to train victims to avoid and be a victim, instead of teaching those who commit the acts not to do so, says Tutturen, and continues:
– It is not the victim, in this case often the girl, who has done something illegal. Yet it is she who receives the social punishment, not the person, often the boy, who has actually committed a crime, namely spreading nude photos against her will.
When Tutturen thinks back to his early teens, where most of the boys had little experience with girls, he remembers several situations where someone showed intimate pictures of girls.
– I do not defend the actions, because it is completely disrespectful, but if we are to overcome the problem, we must understand that it is often about very young people, who are changing. Fortunately, this means that they are relatively easy to shape – also in the right direction, says Tutturen.
Today, the 20-year-old is in no doubt about what it takes to overcome the thinking that it is the girl’s fault that has been “so stupid” to send nude photos.
– I believe that sex education in schools must be renewed. A lot is happening on digital platforms, and that should be talked about in school. I think one must actively go in and tell the youth that this is not okay – and that it is illegal.
Anders Røyneberg, a specialist in sexological counseling, says that the work Tutturen is calling for has long been underway. Røyneberg previously taught sexuality for the clinic Sex and Society, where he spent a lot of time talking to young people about nude pictures.
– The most important thing is to meet the young people where they are. It is important to inform them about the legislation, that it is actually illegal to share nude photos with others, but we can not just do it, says Røyneberg, and continues:
– Young people today are exploring their sexuality online, and we need to talk to them about how they do it in the safest possible way. There is no point in saying “do not send nude photos”, because they probably do anyway. Instead, we need to talk to them about boundaries and security online, but also about the positive aspects of exploring their sexuality.
– Illegal to spread pictures of men
Nude photo hunter Landsem, like Røyneberg, is careful to point the finger. This despite the fact that she receives an average of three inquiries per day from girls who despair that someone has spread nude photos of them against their will.
– When it comes to spreading nude photos on forums, only girls have contacted me.
Landsem is also contacted by boys, but then for other reasons.
– I get emails from boys who are threatened after spreading pictures, but I have never been contacted by boys who have had their pictures posted on forums. This does not mean that it does not happen, but it is probably more common that it happens to girls, says Landsem.
The market for spreading nude photos of women is far larger than it is for men, says Landsem.
– On the largest image-spreading sites, it is illegal to spread images of men. There you will mainly find men who spread pictures of women, says Landsem, and continues:
– Intimate pictures of boys may be spread for a week, but then they often disappear. Pictures of girls, on the other hand, are left and divided into different folders according to breast size, body shape and municipalities. I’ve never seen anything like it for boys.
However, this does not mean that boys do not send nude photos.
– As a general rule, we can say it like this: Girls do not send nude photos without getting someone back. Dickpicks is a well-known phenomenon, so we know that the boys also send pictures of themselves.
– Why is it so difficult to get the image spreaders convicted?
– Many reasons. Mainly because many of the perpetrators are not known, they operate under false names, and then they are difficult to catch. In addition, the police get into the cases far too late, often after the evidence is gone. And then these issues are simply not prioritized, despite the fact that it is a huge problem that eventually affects far too many.
“Boys are boys”
If you want to change your attitude, you have to start with the youth, believes Lars Ingar Tutturen.
– I fear that if we do not address the attitudes among young people, they will be shaped accordingly. Then we risk having a generation that thinks it’s okay to spread nude photos, but not just that: which in the worst case supports a rape culture.
– Why do you think it is easier for someone to blame the girl who sent the pictures than the boy who spread them further?
– I think it has roots in the “boys are boys” mentality. The social expectations of boys and girls are different, and evenly it is easier to write off boys’ actions as nonsense, says Tutturen, and continues:
– If you learn early on that it is okay to objectify girls’ bodies, that a nude picture becomes like a good one can offer friends, I also think it is a shorter way to a society where we also look at women as objects that “share” sexual experiences.
– Men are happy to see pictures of naked ladies
A group that has repeatedly appeared in connection with the spread of nude photos, is the closed Facebook group «Mannegruppa Ottar».
In the group of over 4,300 male members, images of naked female bodies, especially if they are celebrities, can spread quickly.
– Yes, we have had some unfortunate episodes. But it is a long time ago now, says leader Kay Erikssen.
To overcome the problem, all posts in the group must be approved by the administrator. But in the comments field under each post, it is free and here Eriksen and the other administrators do not always manage to follow.
– But I agree with what is said here. It is those who spread the pictures who are to blame, not those who have taken the picture. There is no doubt about that.
– Why do you think there are so many more who spread nude photos of women than of men?
– It’s probably about men being happy to look at pictures of naked ladies, simply. It shows all the statistics so it is no surprise that way, says Erikssen, and adds:
– I also do not think that anyone should be ashamed to look at nude photos. But if you are looking at nude photos that are meant to be private, then you should be ashamed. It will be something else.