Local Cllr Calls For Revenge Porn To Be Made A Criminal Offence

Adrienne-Wallace

People Before Profit Councillor Adrienne Wallace has called for revenge porn to be made a criminal offence following the publication of private images, videos and other content in a massive leak by Irish men online. This follows a statement from the Victims Alliance who became aware of an issue where people are using internet forums to share intimate images into mega files. The scale of the problem is said to be in the tens of thousands and the common thread is that these images are being shared without consent. A petition calling on the Irish government to sign the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill into Irish law has been signed by nearly 30,000 people.

Cllr Wallace said “This is a shocking reminder of how deeply ingrained misogyny is in society. The leaking of these images and videos are a violation of women’s privacy, consent and bodily autonomy. A large number were also taken without knowledge or consent in changing rooms or while women were sleeping. Attacks like this are a symptom of the same sickness that sustains other forms of sexism and even violence against women.” 

Cllr Wallace added “Women in Ireland are disproportionately affected by cyber-attacks, resulting in severe repercussions and leading in some cases to suicide. Women affected by image-based sexual abuse are often also victims of severe cyber-bullying and job losses as a result.  Unfortunately, under Irish law, there is no penalty for such violations or recourse for victims. While legislating to make revenge porn a criminal offense is a start, it should not be the end. As a society, we need to look at how and why so many men have toxic attitudes to women and to sex.”

Cllr Wallace concluded “There can sometimes be a culture of victim blaming emerging in attacks like this and an attitude of ‘well if you didn’t want this to happen you shouldn’t have taken the pictures’. In response to that we must very clearly say ‘cop on’. It’s our body, our choice, but likewise, we maintain control over the consent around these images. While women bear the brunt of sexism, this brand of toxic masculinity hurts men too. We need to begin educating ourselves and younger generations to embrace equality, consent and positive, healthy attitudes to sex and sexuality.”

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