A hill to die on

[TW: Revenge porn]

Every morning I wake up, check the news, and scroll through Facebook for a few minutes before I start getting ready for my day. This particular morning, I had the shock of my life…

Someone I once considered to be a good friend posted nude pictures of another woman online, without that woman’s consent, in an very blatant attempt to humiliate her for the crime of daring to sext and send nudes to a guy that my (now former) friend was apparently interested in. So basically, my former friend was feeling jealous and territorial, and decided to humiliate this other woman as revenge.

Screenshots of their text messages were posted, and it’s very clear this was a private interaction between two consenting adults…which my former friend accessed, then posted publicly for everyone to see.

I went fucking nuclear. The first thing I did was report her…in multiple places. Quite frankly, I don’t care who you are or what our relationship is, if you pull some shit like this, I’m reporting your ass to any and every authority I can. Posting someone’s nude photos without their consent is a form of assault, and I will NOT look the other way if someone I know chooses to do that.

The second thing I did was block her in every way possible because I never want to speak to, look at, or think about that disgusting dumpster fire of a human being ever again.

And then, I sent her an email informing her exactly what I thought of her behavior and why she was being blocked and cut out of my life completely. I was very clear with her that what she did was harassment and bullying, and pointed out that people have been prosecuted for posting nude photos of another person without consent. I ended the email with the words, “Don’t ever contact me again.”

I’m angry and profoundly disappointed that someone I know and invested a lot of my time and energy in over the years is capable of something so completely vile. I feel horrible for the woman whose pictures were blasted all over Facebook simply because she willingly engaged in a conversation with a man who willingly reciprocated and in the process, triggered the envy and wrath of a bully who used her friendship with the man to access private text messages, screen shot them, and post them.

But I want to make it very clear that even if this woman was cheating, or the man in question had been my former friend’s boyfriend, it’s still not okay to respond by posting nude photos without the person’s consent. It’s NEVER okay, and they NEVER deserve it.

This also got me thinking…

I don’t like this attitude that, if there is cheating happening in a hetero configuration, or a woman is sexting a man, that we must place all or most of the blame on the woman, or that the woman gets slut-shamed while the man is just being a man. Don’t let men off the hook. They’re just as culpable. Two people willingly participating in an action are equally complicit.

Also, there is nothing wrong with two consenting adults who are not in monogamous relationships engaging in sexting and exchanging nude photos. Women are not slutty for taking and sharing nude photos of themselves with men who consent to receive them. Women are allowed to express their sexuality and sexual desires the same as men are, and we all need to be conscious of and call out the massive double standard that still exists when it comes to men expressing desire vs women expressing desire.

Even if one or both of these people were cheating, this is not the appropriate way to respond. It’s a matter to be handled privately, it’s a matter for which both the woman AND the man should be held equally accountable, but NEITHER the woman or the man deserve to have private conversations or private photos posted without their consent.

Today is fired. I hope tomorrow is infinitely better, but as this former friend and I have friends and acquaintances in common, I’m sure it won’t be the last that I’ll have to hear about or deal with the situation. I’m steeling myself for people making excuses for her, or cheering her on…because, should any of our other friends react positively or ambivalently about what she did, to be honest…I’d probably cut them off or distance myself from them as well. I refuse to allow people in my life who think something like this is in any was excusable.

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