Protect our women from revenge pornography

AN INCREASING number of people in the region, not to mention the world over, have in one way or another experienced the ugly side of social media.

Many reputations and even lives, especially of women and young girls, are being ruined when their nude pictures or sex tapes are splashed all over social media for the world to savour.

For instance, last week, social media in Namibia erupted after a short video clip of a naked married woman and her lover (not visible in the video) went viral. It is claimed that the male lover recorded the video and later posted it online.

Social media users vented their anger at what many described as a “despicable act”.

This is not an isolated case though. Incidences of nude photos and videos that were originally taken in private and not intended for public consumption have been leaked online are increasing like a plague across the region. And in most cases it is women who fall victim to such publications.

These are the classic cases of revenge pornography, a new form of crime that needs to be addressed and urgently.

Revenge porn, as it is commonly known, is an act of publishing explicit images or videos of people without their consent.

Despite the proliferation of revenge porn attacks, most countries in SADC do not have cyber policies or laws in place to ensure that digital rights, especially those of women, are safeguarded.

Countries like Namibia have taken steps to criminalise revenge porn and other forms of cyber-criminal activities.

Late last year, Justice Minister, Dr Albert Kawana, told media that the government is drafting the Electronic Transactions and Cyber Crime Bill.

Kawana stated that people who are in the habit of trashing others on social media will risk a R10,000 fine or a jail term of up to two years, once the legislation is enacted.

South Africa is another country in the region that is looking at criminalising revenge porn. But it is unlikely that laws are going to stop the leak scandals, unless people change their sexting behaviour.

DMCA.com, a global leader in assisting clients remove compromising contents online, revealed that over 95 percent of the personal cases they deal with are women and teenage girls.

But there is a lot one can do to avoid having their nude pictures and video clips ending up online, which could be costly to your persona and your loved ones.

Individuals also have the responsibility to avoid falling victim to revenge pornography.

Websites such as DMCA.com list a number of ways women can protect themselves from such acts by avoiding taking nude images of themselves and not trusting anyone with such images in the event that they do exist.

Parents are also advised to sensitise their children, especially teenagers, about the dangers of exposing their nude bodies to the Internet.

January 2017
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