It’s dangerous, not as personal as you think and maybe even illegal.
So you trust him, you love him and you literally haven’t seen him in weeks. You’re feeling a little adventurous. He’s constantly on the text telling you he can’t wait to have you in his arms. You snap a cheeky (and sexually explicit) pic and send it off into cyber world. He responds all happy with himself and you feel pretty sexy in the moment too.
Three weeks later you catch up with some of your mutual friends and they are sniggering and calling you “mumma jugs”. He’s showed all of his friends, and your once very private ‘sext’ has left you subject to public ridicule.
A recent study conducted by Parliament of Victoria Law Reform Committee Sexting Inquiry claims that over 20 per cent of teens now participate in sexting since 2012. Girlfriend magazine surveyed close to 600 girls and found that 40 per cent of them have at one time or another indulged in a sexy snap.
So why would we sext? Natalie Slect, a clinical psychologist, told the newsroom, “ that the immediate gratification of turning a partner on, the increase in desire and sexual confidence, as well as changing the dynamic of a relationship motivates people to sext.”
Sexting can also be used as avenue of foreplay and in Natalie’s eyes deepen the psychical and emotional connection within a relationship.
But she believes there are far better ways to do this “Sexting is a behaviour that also has addictive features and can also become a substitute for the real thing, which can negatively impact personal and relationship function.”
Not to mention for those who aren’t of age, Sexting is actually highly illegal and actually considered child pornography.
“Sexting involving children have severe convictions and offenders face registration requirements under sex offender registration laws,” Natalie said.
The dangers of Sexting extend far beyond relying on a sext for your sexual fix in your relationship however.Sexting can go wrong, very wrong, and easily lead to cyber bullying and public ridicule.
“Sexting can then become a precursor for cyber bullying and there are significant and negative impacts (e.g., depression, anxiety, and trauma from ongoing public humiliation and defamation of one’s character) of this type of bullying,”
“Victim suicide can also be the result of such emotionally distressing circumstances.” Natalie said.
One of the more infamous stories of cyber bullying and public ridicule is the story of Jessica Logan. An 18-year-old girl from Ohio who committed suicide after her private sext was sent to everyone in the school after a break up. She was bullied, ridiculed and attacked online in public. She was interviewed by WLWT Cincinnati news 2 months before her suicide, warning people of the dangers of sexting. Has her message gotten through?
You need only type in revenge porn on to Google (which we would definitely not suggest doing) to find out that it most certainly has not.
“There are websites that promote slander of one’s ex by way of posting sext images. Trying to remove an image is not easy and, where possible, costs money.” Natalie said.
Lucy Campbell* was one such victim of revenge porn. After a nasty breakup with her malicious boyfriend the young woman, who has strong twitter following, was devastated when her ex posted naked photos of her on to twitter. The photos remained online far longer than they ever should have.
“Luckily for me the immediate threat of my ominous father and brother were enough to prompt him to take them down,” Lucy told the newsroom.
“In the case of becoming a victim of revenge porn, some images can be linked to the person’s full name, age, address, and occupation. This may lead to stalking and serious danger.” Natalie says.
The worst part about the epidemic of revenge porn is there is no legislation that protects the victims. The Australian Federal Police have said that as much as revenge porn is devastating for women, police do not investigate it.
However the Attorney’s General’s Department (AGD) maintains that police have the power to prosecute revenge pornographers.
The spokesman for AGD told the International Business Times, “that the Commonwealth Criminal Code 1995 states that it is an offence to use the Internet to menace, harass or offend. This can be used to indict the revenge pornographers.”
Natalie Slect wants us all to remember that Sexting within the safe confines of a relationship can lead to revenge porn if a breakup goes bad.
“Being naked with a partner is something that should be reserved for being intimate with one another in person. Online is no place for those images unless that’s your intended destination for them.” Lucy said.
– Bree Hetherington
* Name changed for victim protection and privacy.
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