We can’t all be as brave as Emma Holten.
When an ex-boyfriend shared a series of intimate photos taken when she was 17 on a “revenge porn” website, Emma — now 23-years old — decide she couldn’t let him and anonymous people who attacked her online have the last word.
She got her own photographer and published a series of images she was comfortable along with an evocative essay on “Consent“.
“The pictures are an attempt at making me a sexual subject instead of an object,” she wrote. “I am not ashamed of my body, but it is mine. Consent is key. Just as rape and sex have nothing to do with each other, pictures shared with and without consent are completely different things.”
Last year when a series of hacks resulted in nude photos of Hollywood stars being posted online, many of us were shocked at the attempt to blame the victims.
No one asks, “Why would you dare to keep your credit card information on your phone?” when someone had their private financial data stolen.
But these women were lambasted for daring to have private images of themselves stored somewhere they assumed was private. It was as if a woman should expect images of her body to become public property. Certainly, we at F-Secure believe that you should take the best precautions possible to secure your online life, especially if you’re highly visible. But if the most intimate parts of our lives are not sacred, nothing is
On Friday the 26th of September 2014, eight of my female colleagues, a male coworker and myself decided to pose naked in front of the camera to support the victims of the hackings.
As we removed our bathrobes and become vulnerable to anyone who had a camera, I thought, “If this was hard for us, with a professional photographer in a private space, doing this voluntarily and knowing that the pictures will be out with our full consent, then how hard was for celebrities to be exposed as they have been, with zero consent? What will happen when we, anonymous people, will be seen naked by the whole world? What would my colleagues think when they see my naked pictures? What will my friends and parents in Spain –a macho country- would say? Why do I care?”
As I read Emma’s essay I realized the answer. It is not about nudity.
It is not about the relationship I have with my body. It is about power, fear and consequences, fear of judgment and a lack of support for the victims. It was about knowing that the victims were taking more of the blame than the perpetrators. It was about the fear, I could be next and the greater fear that by doing nothing, I was ensuring there would be more victims who’d be blamed for their own violation.
We held back on publishing the photos because we feared how they be interpreted. Now I realized that there was a crucial point we hadn’t yet identified yet in what we were trying to say. Emma helped us understand that consent is the key. Emma had to reclaim how her body was being reinterpreted and she inspired us to make the statement we wanted to make all along: Only we have the right to take what is private and make it public.
We reached out to Emma to let her know she inspired us and now we’re reaching out to you to ask you to join us. Shout out loud that privacy is a fundamental right and violating it is a crime. Join us by posting a nude image of yourself online with the hashtag #uncoveryourarse.
The message is: consent matters. And like Emma, we won’t be shamed into silence.
– By Laura
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June 21, 2017