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Uproar Over Objectional Images

Uproar Over Objectional Images
Dropbox has been used to share and store explicit photos.
September 21
11:34 2017

The exposure of 900 nude images of unsuspecting young Fijian women has caused an uproar.

The Fiji National University, University of the South Pacific, Fiji  Women’s Crisis Centre, and Police yesterday condemned the racket as criminal.

The photos are in a Dropbox, or online storage folder.

Victims have gone underground, reluctant to talk about the issue because of the social stigma involved. One victim was willing to speak out at first but then changed her mind. 900 explicit photos and videos of the young women surfaced on the  public online file-hosting site.

The material was allegedly uploaded without the consent of the women.

Sources confirmed the folder had remained online for months with continuous updates.

While authorities were unaware of the mass-sharing of photos, Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro yesterday warned against such activities, confirming it as a criminal offence in Fiji.

“We urge those sharing these photos to refrain from doing so,” Ms Naisoro said.

“At the same time we are urging members of the public not to share personal photos of themselves, especially with people that they do not know considering there are certain elements of society who have sinister motives of shaming individuals.”

Some of the photos have been identified as students from the University of the South Pacific and the Fiji National University.

USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra expressed his concern at the discovery of the explicit material.

“The university is very shocked and saddened to hear about the incident and strongly condemns it,” Professor Chandra said.

“We have taken this very seriously and will investigate it further. The university will hold the responsible person(s) fully accountable,” he said.

FNU’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Healey also condemned the illegal activity.

In a phone call he said: “We take the view that to publicly disseminate images of individuals against their wishes and or without their permission amounts to a criminal offence.

“If we find that any of our students have been implicated in this, we will take appropriate disciplinary action against them and refer them to the civil authorities.”

Meanwhile, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali encouraged victims of revenge porn to speak-out.

“This is unacceptable,” Ms Ali said

“The police cyber unit should be on to it immediately. We have cases of this nature reported to the Centre and advice women and girls to report so these terrible people are caught,” she said.

“I also advise these victims not to be ashamed.  It’s not their fault and they should go to the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre where they can talk to a counsellor and seek legal advice.”

Ms Naisoro assured that Police would conduct necessary investigations.

What is Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn is the sharing of erotic and private photos or videos of any person without their consent and with the express purpose of inflicting emotional pain or embarrassment.  In this case it is understood that some images came from partners of the young women who had split from them.

Private material usually means anything that is not ordinarily seen in public.

The explicit material may also be accompanied by private information such as the victim’s full name, personal address, phone number and details about their social media profiles.

What can you do if you discover you have become a victim of  ‘Revenge Porn?’

In a high percentage of cases, the offender is known to the victim of revenge porn.

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre has a toll free number: 1560  which is a 24-hour line that provides support and legal advice to victims; while their landline: 3313300  is also a 24-hour service used for the same purpose.

If you are subjected to blackmail or threatening messages, be sure to capture a screenshot of the messages and report it to the Police.

You can also reach out to the website where the material has been published and ask them to take it down through their support provision.

Quick Tips to protect yourself from revenge porn:

Always exercise caution when sharing explicit pictures of yourself, even if it is to your spouse or long-time partner.

Check and update privacy setting regularly on your social media accounts.

Be careful not to share personal contact details online.

Keep your webcam turned off when it is not use.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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