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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.

  • miriam

    I have also received THREE unsolicited nude photos of men on a dating site. I was also called a prude by all three men. I think what she did is perfect. Men are now going to think twice before sending nude photos. I suspect the number of women being harassed this way will go down.

  • colleen2

    Oh bullshit.Sending a woman you don’t know a nude pic is the equivalent of an obscene phone call. Sending the pic to his mother was entirely appropriate. The guy needs to grow up. As does the author of this article.

    • Joshua M. Patton

      Colleen, thanks for reading and sharing your opinion. While I do think sending the picture to his mother is in bad taste, my main objection is centered around the idea that posting nude photos of people online without their consent is pretty much always bad. Still I appreciate other points-of-view. Please keep reading IssueHawk.com!

      • colleen2

        It IS in poor taste. But ‘poor taste’ does not begin to describe a habit of sending strangers photos of your junk or making an obscene phone call at 3 am. There really is no equivalency. Sending a copy to the guy’s relatives or wife seems like a good way to stop that sort of harassment. What would you suggest? Screaming and going to the police?

        • Joshua M. Patton

          Not posting it publicly, at least. 🙂 – JMP

  • Bill Roberts

    So, Joshua, if it was your daughter that was being assaulted in this manner, how would you feel?

    • Joshua M. Patton

      Bill, thanks for reading and the question. My daughter is currently entering her teenage years, so this is actually a very real concern for me since her and her friends primarily communicate via text message.

      If she were to receive (or – sigh – send) an inappropriate photo, we’d most likely deal with it the way we deal with everything: by having a conversation. However, if she felt compelled to post a received inappropriate photo online, I would encourage her not to do that, because I have always tried to teach her harming others is not a way to fix harm done to her.

      Thanks for your comment and please keep reading IssueHawk.com!

  • KonaKane

    Why is there “trouble” with this situation? What she did was entirely appropriate. The moron posted a nude pic to a complete stranger, which was virtually the same as printing it out and stapling it to telephone posts in public. All she did was pass it on in the same manner. I hope not only his mom saw it, but every single member of his family, his employer (if he has one) and a million other people he doesn’t know.

    Stop making excuses for these disrespectful idiots. They post pictures of their junk to complete strangers, there is nothing wrong with helping them along. They deserve everything they get, and this woman deserves a medal.

    • Joshua M. Patton

      Thanks for your comment. Had this man posted this picture to his public social media account, you’d be right. But a better analogy would be that he sent it in a private letter and she pasted it on a billboard.

      I am not saying he wasn’t wrong to do what he did, I am just questioning the degree of the response. That there are different legal consequences for murder and assault doesn’t make either more or less of a crime. That same logic applies here. Or to put another way, imagine a woman sent an unsolicited nude photo to man and he then posted it online, is it still okay?

      Thanks for joining the discussion and please keep reading IssueHawk! – JMP

  • Sage

    He sent her the picture, that made it her property, she was free to do with it as she wished. He could of avoided all this with the use of RESPECT.
    How nice of you to blame the victim, that would be the female, what he did was not better than to show up at her house, knock at the door and when she answered it, he was naked.

  • Janipurr

    This woman did exactly what I would have done. The answer here is–don’t send naked pictures of yourself to other people unsolicited. It’s not just unwanted, it’s an act of aggression. He completely deserved what he got. Considering she was going to get no help from the anywhere else (the website, the man’s hosting company, the police), what else was she supposed to do–thank him for essentially flashing her? This is the only kind of action that is going to stop this kind of male harassment.