What’s Current: Facebook facing a number of lawsuits from victims of ‘revenge porn’

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

  • Facebook is facing a number of lawsuits from victims of “revenge porn,” after a 14-year-old girl reached a settlement over a photo of her that was posted on a “shame page” on the site.
  • The Crown Prosecution Service has rejected calls to take 93 additional allegations of rape against former black cab driver, John Worboys, patrolling him after he’s served only nine years of his sentence.
  • MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews is on tape making a joke about putting a “Bill Cosby pill” into Hillary Clinton’s water before interviewing her.
  • One of Donald Trump’s lawyers reportedly paid an adult film star $130,000, a month before the 2016 general election, to remain quiet about a sexual encounter that occurred the year after he married Melania.
  • Caroline Pugh-Roberts spent years dancing in strip clubs for a “boyfriend” pimp who took all her money. Today, she’s a public health educator working to re-educate sex buyers and teach young women to recognize when a man is using the cover of romantic interest to exploit them.
  • Two mothers in Tamil Nadu are petitioning the Indian courts to free their daughters from a spinning mill where their employers house them on-premises and refuse to allow them to freely leave or quit their jobs.
Natasha Chart
Natasha Chart

Natasha Chart is an online organizer and feminist living in the United States. She does not recant her heresy.

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  • Alienigena

    Reading the stories about the woman who was trafficked by her boyfriend and the RCMP officer reflecting on his career working with victims of sex trafficking I think we really need to call this society on what it really is, rather than the PR around it. This society is ‘exploitation positive’, not ‘sex positive’. The RCMP officer talked about not wanting to be seen as a prude.

    “Hay says. “I don’t want to sound like a prude. I have no issue with consenting adults having sex however they want to have sex, as long as everyone is on board with it and the people are not hurting each other.””

    If that is the worst thing people have to say about you then be proud. Would it be better to be seen as a promoter of ‘serial sexual predation’ or as someone who is ‘indifferent to the sexual exploitation of women and girls’? What kind of society do we live in that feeling disgust for how women and girls in the sex trade are treated is seen as prudery?

    • BornACrone

      “This society is ‘exploitation positive’, not ‘sex positive’.”

      Men can’t tell the difference. To them, it’s the same thing. Their whole lives are lived by the credo, “If I get my dick in you, you lose.”

      We’re the idiots who think it actually means love.

    • Maureen

      “I think we really need to call this society on what it really is, rather than the PR around it. This society is ‘exploitation positive’, not ‘sex positive’.”

      YES, let’s do this. I’m extra frustrated some people have adopted the phrase “sex negative” in reaction to “sex positive.” Neither makes any sense.

  • FierceMild

    I’m so glad facebook is finally being held to account for providing a platform for abuse, but I am SO frustrated that the phenomenon of ‘revenge porn’ Is always reported in sex-neutral language.

    As if boys and men are just as likely to be coerced, wheedled or bribed into taking naked pictures of themselves and then equally likely to have those images leveraged against them as girls or women are. Such language also obscures and protects the perpetrators of revenge porn (every time I type that it seems like such an oxymoron. All porn is a form of vengeance against women.) namely, boys and men. Women and girls do not do this to men and boys. They do not. They don’t. This is a sexed form of abuse so why is it always discussed in neutral terms?

    Wait, I know why.

    • BornACrone

      And yet women are the ones who are accused of “using sex as a weapon.” They seriously do think they are being murdered when they hear the word “no.”

      • FierceMild

        Me personally, I always use sex as a weapon. I’m sure you do as well. I carry the sex sticking out between my fingers to rake a fool’s face with. Or else I attach some sex to my key ring to disable an attacker’s eyes. It goes something like this:

        DUDE: give me all your money!
        FIERCEMILD: Back off or I’ll spray you in the face with this sex!
        DUDE: sorry, man, I’m sorry okay?
        (Scurries back down alley to assault some other woman who doesn’t use sex as a weapon)

  • Missy

    Totally agree. MRAs need to be kicked out of all positions of power, or better yet, get kicked out of this world entirely! I’m just so beyond sick and frustrated by the existence of these misogynistic assholes from hell who constantly and successfully hold back society and the progression of women’s rights. I wish they would all just simultaneously disappear, I don’t care how, just make them gone so we never have to deal with their disgusting misygony ever again.

  • FierceMild

    All of this and more. You’re right that sex balance in government greatly alters laws pertaining to eomen. That’s why I don’t agree with those of us who see no benefit to loading the house and senate (or whatever the governing bodies of your country are ) with women.

  • BornACrone

    “Do not tell me that the men at Facebook couldn’t see this coming.”

    THIS IS WHY WE NEED MORE DIVERSITY IN STEM. THIS RIGHT HERE. Any woman who, like myself, was online in the late 80s could see this shit coming a mile away. We could see the potential quite easily for this to be used to stalk, harass, and destroy lives and careers.

    Same with black people and other people of color. Any politically active black person in the late 80s had clear memories of the government infiltrating and trying to hamstring and destroy their communities. Between people of color and women of all colors, we could have AND IN MANY CASES DID warn people in online communities of the potential for these kinds of abuses. I and a community of women I knew were screaming about this shit in the early 90s on Usenet for chrissakes!!

    Yet the only people around the boardroom tables making the decisions on tech design and security were stupid, clueless white boys who were all so fucking convinced that they were the smartest people in the room. Shut up, stupid girls. We Men Are Making Important Decisions Here.

    And now we have technology that is ruining the planet, and all those dumbfucks at Facebook are suddenly waking up TWENTY-FIVE YEARS TOO LATE going, “Uh-oh, mebbe we do a bad fing.”

    If women and minorities are excluded from the development of technology, that technology will only ever destroy the fucking world. THAT’S WHY WE NEED TO BE IN STEM, not because some asshole fucking ugly-ass white boy at Google thinks they have to be politically correct and generous toward people of lesser brain power and unfairly take a job away from the pasty-ass scrawny white male fuck who shoulda haddit.

    No one notices this about tech. All this fucking handwringing about how Facebook destroyed democracy and NO ONE HAS REALIZED that the exclusion of women and minorities from its design and implementation from the start caused it. Science, technology, religion, art … all of it. Exclude women and minorities, and it all becomes a force for evil and Armageddon.

    GodDAMN fucking stupid-ass white boys. Everything that’s wrong with the whole world from environmental degradation and global warming to the destruction of democracy to ebola comes down to them kicking everyone else in the face whenever we try to express an opinion about ANYTHING.

    • FierceMild

      I think you’re a little easy on men of color.

      • Hekate Jayne

        I can’t stand any of them.

        I interact with white and black males. They are horrible. And I have had to interact with some from India, lately. They are horrible to deal with, too.

        It doesn’t matter what race they are. Ninety nine percent of males are openly horrible. And 1% will be really horrible if they see an opportunity to get away with it since they all view women the same way.

        But white males do seem to be especially evil. Maybe because they run everything in our country.

        I put ALL women ahead of ALL males. Women matter to me. The males don’t.

        It is my daily misandry.

      • BornACrone

        Probably, but I think they would have been aware of the potential for government subversion.

        But yeah … black, white, yellow, red, and brown men may consider themselves so very different, but they can all agree and find themselves on the same side when it’s a fucking bitch they’re aiming at.

    • Hekate Jayne

      You said:
      “……going, “Uh-oh, mebbe we do a bad fing.”…….”

      This is exactly how males sound to me. Glad to know it isn’t just me.

      And agreed.

  • BornACrone

    All of them. Burn it down. I’m sick of all of it. I’m sick of a website like this still being needed, now more than ever. Will it ever stop?

  • Liz

    hahaha yep! He’s also going to cure all disease by 2100. With only $3 billion.

  • Blazing Fire

    Eewww.. Just a short while back didn’t bdsm refer to women getting kicked, choked, etc? (or did I get it wrong?) Has it already become “regular old”??

    Nevermind the technical terms & euphemisms they keep inventing to confuse us, the whole porn concept including its soft (er, what?) variants need to *just GO*.
    We all know this and I might be repeating it, but the whole bundle – from indecent projection of women to videos of smacking/choking a woman during a supposed copulation – has no other purpose other than to train women to move away from their natural inclinations and towards becoming a doormat for the menfolk.
    Remove all the artificially flavored junk food-for-the-mind (starting from unreal romance tales to the above said videos), and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes to a girl’s mind.
    My mom was very strict while raising me up, and till my middle school I was almost completely insulated from any filth (you do see some movie posters that picture semi-stripped women or picture a kiss, here and there when you go out, but that was the max I had seen). She wouldn’t let me watch any TV at all – after a lot of begging & pleading, one show per week (Arabian nights tale) was allowed, but the tv had to be turned off RIGHT after that. As a very young child (till 10 years), it was a _little_ difficult – especially when your friends seem to be watching movies & occasionally talking about them at school (Thank God I was never made fun of or laughed at for being different..). But by the time we turned 13, a lot of my classmates told me “your parents have done the right thing. You are so free-minded” (they meant that I had fewer distractions from studies.. Even they failed to see the more deeper difference it made).
    Ok, fast-forward to high school: They were still my friends, and liked me, but I noticed a lot of differences. Even I didn’t realize at that point that it could be tied to the movie tutoring
    1. Some of them developed imaginary boy-friends (usually a movie star) & occasionally talked objectionable (but not “adult”, thankfully) stuff.
    2. Some others started dreaming of marriage very seriously (I did dream a bit too, but certainly not obsessed – of becoming a great scientist & marrying a great scientist who would adore me & love me more than life (rolling my eyes _now_).. Though the tv/movie channel was shut, a lot others are there – advertisements, stories – even non-romantic fiction would have the main characters being in a very happy bf/gf relation, the girl being loved soo much, etc, which happens only in books I guess)
    3. **** Worse, every single one of them showed “understanding” and sympathy to bad behavior from boys. Our school was very strict (schools are strict here, but our school was a lot more watchful than the average school), they keep a very keen eye on students’ behavior ESPECIALLY boys’ behavior & they have kicked out students (only boys managed to cross the line & get kicked out) who showed disagreeable behavior. Despite it, there will be low-level bad behavior like making distracting noises (that can be heard from the front of the class) in the classroom, or more annoying (to me) things like throwing foam on unsuspecting people during school trips. (Later I got to know through the grapevine – I’m usually the laaast person to hear of gossip – that they even “ranked” girls according to their looks it seems.. In such a strict environment, some of the studious, seemingly focused boys were doing this..) All other girls sympathized & made excuses for such bad behavior. A few of them even felt pride when they were the targets of such activities – “he aimed at *ME*!! wow!” (yikes! Thankfully I avoided all such “trips” in high school. Or I would have burst out in anger at these actions & fumed that teachers couldn’t control them). When my friend described this trip to me (proudly!) I was shell-shocked. I was fuming “How CAN they do that? What if that foam enters someone’s eyes? What if someone is allergic? Don’t they have CIVIC sense? You should have called the teachers & showed this to them” to which she said “C’mon.. what’s wrong? It’s all good fun.. And what will teachers do? These boys will give the teacher a sunglass & ask him to pose for a photo, after which he (teacher) will cool down & let them play.. anyway it is not a bad thing. You are thinking too much.” I insisted it can’t be, and atleast one teacher would have found this nonsense unacceptable. She just continued to protect those “poor, nice” boys. I did not even register the fact that she considered it a pride to be the target of foam-throwing – it was just beyond me – I understood it years later.
    Much, much later, one day it dawned on me that the only common denominator that separated me from all the other girls in my class was that they were exposed to movies while I was not.

    Remember that the movies they would have watched don’t portray full-blown porn. They show unnecessary skin, and also normalize bad behavior, AND also normalize female running behind a not-so-deserving man (and accepting not-so-great treatment). Honestly, I could never ever fathom chasing a man (though I did dream of being loved, cherished, etc by a man) – and I don’t see examples of it in the animal world either. Most girls too wouldn’t go too far in reality I guess – their natural instincts might overpower the brainwashing after a limit, depending on the severity of brainwashing – but they do seem a bit inclined to act out like the movie-maker males’ fantasy about women. (We did watch a few movies recently – after a lot of vetting – and found even fewer – 4 or 5 – good ones, the rest were as described above.. And this was a selected, screened list.. The average movie must be quite worse.). So, looks like my classmates’ acceptance & sympathizing of bad behavior (and other self-destructing things) also came from the slow-brainwashing by watching movies, undoubtedly. How else could I explain my blood boiling, while everyone of the others enjoying it?

    If this is the difference that even supervised (by good parents) movie-watching makes, imagine what unsupervised movie/video (aka porn) watching would result in?
    Also, this change is made very slowly – though my friends said that not-watching-movies is a good habit I was lucky to get, they meant only the fewer-distractions-from-acadamics part. They couldn’t map the behavioral/inclinational difference to the absence of movie influence. Neither did I make out at that time – I understood it much later. So, this is an invisible impact that these media create, and we can’t detect it when it happens. So we ought to be pro-active against it even before it starts sinking its invisible fangs into us.

    • Hekate Jayne

      I read an article recently about “male sexuality” that asked the question, “how can women and men have healthy relationships (sexual and otherwise) when our world is so inequitable?”

      A dood wrote the article. In all of his male pontificating about how to answer his own question, he missed the obvious.

      WE CAN’T. There is no way that we can have healthy relationships with males. In fact, healthy relationships with women is not want males want. They only want to DOMINATE. And that cannot be healthy.

      It is in their socialization from babies. As you were saying, not only are they taught to be selfish, entitled assholes, we are taught that this is how males should be and that we will not demand better. Or else.

  • Blazing Fire

    She’s got such a deep, clear insight, wow.
    Childhood incest is such an octopus – the child is, save for a miracle, bound to get entangled in one or the other tentacle whichever way she grows… so pathetic. Victims need a lot of help (and miracles) and justice.