Last week, a few hundred private photos of celebrities – mostly female, mostly nude – were leaked on the Internet. Following this unfortunate incident has been a lot questions (How can this happen?) and a lot of blaming. Some are blaming the victims: “If she didn’t want the pictures to become public, she shouldn’t have taken them”; ” It’s just pictures, what the big deal?”
In fact, most comments surrounding this issue right now are negative and hurtful toward the victims. But there have also been many who have stepped up to defend these women, perhaps those who realize they, too, have something very private that could be leaked. It’s likely that the people doing all of the victim blaming don’t understand the real situation.
These people took these pictures, in the privacy of their own spaces, with no intention of circulating them on the Internet, or to groups of people they had never met. They took them with the innocent intention of sharing them with a partner or maybe they were just feeling good about themselves that day. Hackers then went through a lot of trouble to break into their phones and steal those pictures and distribute them to the world. This is the exact same scenario as someone breaking into their homes and taking pictures of them against their will. This could happen to anyone; you do not have to be a celebrity for this sort of thing to happen to you. And it’s not OK. This sort of situation makes us feel as if nothing is private anymore. If you put something on the Internet or on your phone it is vulnerable to hacking.
It is a sad and strange state of affairs that in the year 2014 we are still “slut shaming” and victim blaming women who have been treated unfairly, physically harmed, or even brutalized. We need to change our attitude toward victims of this sort of abuse because, while this whole scenario has been shocking and sad and I feel so bad for these women, it will happen again. If we can change our perspective, let in some empathy rather than judgment, then maybe the next time it does happen these women will feel like they have a safe place to turn to rather than ridicule and opinions around every corner.