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A revolution against revenge porn

May 28,2018
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YANG SUNG-HEE
*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

Recently, a man in his 30s was found taking photos illegally in the subway. In surveillance camera footage, he was found taking photos under a woman’s skirt with his phone. He was found with as many as 6,000 illegal images. He is a district official, and those around him described him as “introverted and gentle.”

The crime of taking photos and videos without the subject’s consent is on the rise. The victims are predominantly women. They don’t know they have been photographed, and the images and videos of them spread.

They often learn that they are victims when someone finds an image or video of them on social media or porn sites. It is a crime that does not allow the victims to seek damages secretly. Many sex videos are revenge porn, which boyfriends spread after a breakup.

With the development of digital technology, anyone can create and share video and images. In the past, only certain people were engaged in the porn industry. But now, any woman’s photos and videos can be shared online, and any ordinary man can produce and distribute porn.

Pornography made with ordinary people, without their consent, is spreading fast. Among elementary school students, “secret images of moms” or “secret images of teachers” are shared. Some young children copy online adult broadcasting hosts and post videos and images of their mothers and female teachers on YouTube. In one video, a young boy says, “I will take a photo of my mom’s butt. Please subscribe.” A video of a mother taking a bath has received more than 160,000 views.

Digital criminals have little sense of guilt, as they do not physically contact or harm victims, and their crimes are very easy and convenient. Even when men and women are both exposed in videos, women often suffer most of the damage.

Easycom CEO Park Hyung-jin is a “digital undertaker” who helps the victims of videos and images taken without their consent. In an interview, he said that these videos are not porn to victims but are akin to “murder videos.” As many victims contact him at the last minute, he has to first stop them from taking their lives. He told them that their videos would get even more attention if they die.

His words explain why women are protesting on the streets. The Daehangno rally last weekend was the biggest women’s rally ever in Korea. There was no organizer for the event. Women who fought illegal images and videos every day protested, and said that they were not protected by the state.

JoongAng Sunday, May 26-27, Page 34