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Woman Posts Unsolicited Nude Picture of Man Online: Revenge Porn or Justice?

If a man sends a woman an unsolicited nude picture should be publicly-shamed before his mother and the internet? Such was the question examined by a Tumblr user (who has since deactivated her account) who received such an unsolicited picture and she decided to take action. Yet rather than reporting this guy’s account on the dating app, blocking his number, or even calling law enforcement, she decided to post his picture on the internet, after sending it to his mother.

Four hours after asking the woman about her day and the weather, the man – identified only as Trevor – sent her a picture of himself, naked. The woman replied by saying, “I didn’t need to see that. I don’t need to be disrespected by someone I don’t even know.” Had Trevor known what was good for him, he would have left terrible enough alone.

Yet, fueled by misogyny or anger at the rejection (or both) Trevor replied calling her a “prude.” What one assumes was a quick internet search later, the woman replied telling Trevor that she had found his mother on Facebook and later claimed to have sent to the picture to her. While perhaps a step too far, she also told him that she was “sick of being treated like this.” She then posted all of the screencaps online, which was picked up by some blogs. Her account on Tumblr has since been deactivated.

It should go without saying (but unfortunately it doesn’t) that Trevor’s actions were unequivocally wrong. I have written numerous times about why sending unsolicited naked pictures of yourself to people is a truly terrible idea. For men, sending an unsolicited naked picture can be perceived as jarring and aggressive as if one was to expose oneself in-person. A number of women report that online, the deluge of unsolicited naked pictures from men is so overwhelming that, when taken collectively, it is absolutely harassment.

Only the trouble with this particular situation is that in choosing to publicly shame this man and posting his nude picture online without his consent is troubling. While that seems like shaky legal ground, laws against “revenge porn” (e.g. posting nude photos of people online without their consent) have not yet been passed in the U.S. However, in publicly shaming this man it is worth examining if she is not instead on shaky moral ground.

Reactions from women to this story point to his “rapey vibe” and a certainty that this was not the first time he had done this to a woman as justifications for her posting the picture. However, given the information we know, there is no evidence one way or the other. Thus the question becomes does the punishment fit the crime?

The woman who received that picture certainly deserves to go through life only seeing the human genitals she wants to see. It just seems that thereby spreading that offensive image to another woman who doesn’t want to see it (his mother or not) and the rest of the internet is a troubling overreaction, indicative of a problematic culture of shaming. It reminds me of when someone eats something, says it’s disgusting, and then tells you to taste it (but with a potentially-destroy-someone’s-life quality.

Women who are being harassed sexually online or on the street should never hesitate about coming forward and standing up for themselves. Although, there is a difference between that and answering one harmful act with another, which only perpetuates a cycle of pain, animus, and rage in both women and men.

 

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About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.