International revenge porn epidemic

woman-in-anonymous-mask1The BBC has a new series on sex, honor, and blackmail. Pornographic photos are posted online for money or revenge.  Cellphones are used to film sexual assaults, and the abuse videos used to threaten or silence rape survivors.  in more traditional cultures, this can put women at risk of violence from their own families.

Zahra Sharabati, a Jordanian lawyer, says Jordan has had more than 1,000 cases involving social media, including some where the girl was killed. The Palestinian West Bank has had more than a thousand, the majority involving pictures of women taken without the hijab (head scarf). The Saudi religious police report hundreds of calls a day from women calling them about blackmail.

Articles:

  • The day I killed my rapist. In Tunisia, a woman was sentenced to 25 years in prison after she killed a friend of her father who beat her, photographed her naked, and used it to blackmail her for money. “I even tried to poison myself….” but when he came back for her sister, “I took the meat cleaver, hit him on the back of the head. I disfigured his face. I cut off his finger, the one he deflowered me with.”
  • The private dance video that went viral. In Egypt, Ghadeer Ahmed sued her ex-boyfriend for defamation after he posted with her girlfriends, but the video resurfaced years later when she became politically active.
  • How a Bangladeshi rape survivor was shamed on Facebook. In Bangladish, Purnima Shil was gang-raped at the age of 13. “Twenty-five men were accused, eleven were convicted.” Twelve years later, someone created a pornographic Facebook page on her, posted her phone number. “Why did it happen to me? Why?”
  • Cameras in the bedroom – I was shamed by my own husband. In Jordan, Samah’s new husband photographed her secretly, left the country, then sent videos of her to all her colleagues. She lost her job and has not worked since.
  • The WhatsApp suicide. In India, a woman killed herself after a video of her being gang raped was posted to WhatsApp.
  • The Skype sex scam – a fortune built on shame. The Moroccan town of Oued Zem is the center of sextortion racket. Someone who does Skype sex scams can make $500 a day. “We ask him to take off his clothes”, says one young scammer…”We spend 20 minutes chatting, 20 minutes for the video, and 20 minutes threatening – threatening and negotiating. They all pay.”
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