Earlier this month, a 16-year old girl was brutally gang-raped in India. One man held a gun to her head while another filmed the attack with his cellphone. Afterward, the men threatened the girl with the circulation of the video if she dared to tell anyone or ask for help.
What’s worse than this despicable violation of human dignity is the increasing popularity of this type of crime, both in India and around the world.
The Internet has added a buffer of anonymity and a route to viral popularity for sexual predators. In India, for example, lax pornography laws make this kind of crime extremely low-importance to the authorities — many times, victims won’t even bother filing a complaint.
This is just one window into a larger epidemic. Women’s privacy is extremely underrated in our modern society. The objectification of women has gone on for so long that the public feels it has a right to see sexual or intimate pictures of them.
This heinous invasion doesn’t just take place in far-off countries. Earlier this month, nude pictures were stolen from American actresses Kate Upton and Jennifer Lawrence, among others. Hackers broke into their private files and distributed the pictures to all corners of the Internet. This theft should have prompted a furious outcry – instead, it spiked a frenzy of perverted tinterest and many an op-ed about the stupidity of posing for naked pictures.
These two crimes have much in common. In both cases, a woman’s right to her body was cavalierly violated. For their attackers, it was not enough to steal her dignity themselves – they felt obliged to share the images in a public and humiliating way, stripping the women of their humanity, making them no more than titillating images.
Women have been mistreated on an international stage since the beginning of time. And in a technological world that progresses in leaps and bounds, respect for women seems to do just the opposite.