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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Opinion

Revenge porn reveals danger presented by technology


David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

David Delgado/The Daily Cougar

What was once reserved for a woman’s one and only is now played out through text message with any set of thumbs that’ll fill the void on a Tuesday night.

Acts once sacred are now stepping stones toward liberation and validation.

What was once a landline phone call routed through her parents is now a Snapchat intended for his eyes and his eyes only.

When it comes to today’s modern relationship, things once reserved for the bonds of holy matrimony have become the collegiate norm, and concepts like self-control and privacy are now explicitly reserved for so-labeled “prudes” and universally mocked religious minorities.

Honestly, it was bound to happen. No, not mocking anybody for his or her spiritual beliefs. That’s never OK. Sex has been around for … well, forever. The more mankind has learned about it, the more comfortable mankind has gotten with it, and the more comfortable mankind has become with it, the more mankind has wanted to play, experiment and push the boundaries of that hush-hush cardio workout.

Whether it’s in the confines of a marriage or a cinderblock dorm room, people are going to have sex. It’s how we came about to be cognizant human beings, after all, and as long as those involved comply with their beliefs, discuss health-related issues up front and make the decision of their own accord, there shouldn’t be too many physical issues that come out of it.

Until, that is, you bring things like technology into the mix.

In a disgusting result of blending media platforms with sex, a trend known as “revenge porn” has started to make its way around the Web.

Basically, it’s what happens when somebody posts sexual images of their ex-partner online without the consent of that ex-partner, and it’s downright despicable.

According to CNN, nearly 80 percent of the victims are women. The photos were almost always shared in a committed relationship, under the pretense that they were only for the eyes of the partner.

The reasons mostly men commit this contemptible violation of privacy range from the age-old adage of the scorned lover to being a guy who wants to show off the girl who stayed with him for two whole years. What a way to pay homage.

A student who asked to remain anonymous detailed their horrific experience with blending sex and technology.

“When me and my boyfriend were dating, I sent him some pictures that he had been wanting for a while — I was naked, but I completely trusted him.”

“When we broke up, I tried dating another guy — he caught wind of it and texted me, threatening to send (he guy) nude photos of me. He said it’s because he still loves me, and doesn’t want anyone to have me.”

“I’m literally afraid of starting to date again. It terrifies me, having those pictures go around,” the student said.

On the surface, revenge porn is immortalizing the thing the victim wants to no longer exist. It’s a violation of the personal property of the victim — their body — and it allows anybody with a smartphone to carry the victim’s physique in their pocket with access to it 24 hours a day.

On its own, it’s sickening stuff.

On a deeper level, though, it’s a reflection of how comfortable our generation is with technology. We’ve let it perforate nearly every aspect of our lives and willingly let it play a significant role in some of the intimate acts we’re capable of making.

Developing a dependency on the benefits of technology isn’t that bad in itself; however, it can certainly prove self-destructive when we ignore the frightening ramifications of those same innovations.

In regard to relationships, “sexting” has become a significant part of some relationships.

Applications have literally been designed, and profited massively, off society’s insistence to integrate technology and sex — think Snapchat, Tinder and Lulu.

However, when those provocative texts are sent to the wrong person in your address book, or that gutsy Snapchat you doubted from the get-go winds up as a screenshot, one should consider to abandon these technologies as things not worth the risk.

We give technology free rein with an incredible amount of our personal lives, and when they fail us, we continue to treat them as foolproof tools capable only of benefiting us.

Future relationships inevitably involve R-rated multimedia messages, and whatever is the Snapchat of 2015 will undoubtedly be one of the App Store’s most frequently downloaded apps.

Beth Olson, associate professor and director of the Valenti School of Communication, commented on the way she believes technology has changed young people’s approach to sex.

“Technology may change the way younger people approach sexual behavior … Sharing intimate photos (makes) intimacy less important and may escalate the normal pace of establishing a relationship.”

“Both of these events can result in negative consequences, as the revenge porn phenomenon illustrates,” Olson said.

Regardless of your significant other’s moral fiber, your relationship’s longevity or the labyrinthine passcode protecting your iPhone’s contents, there’s simply never an airtight guarantee that sex via technology will disappear completely. As the nauseating revenge porn phenomenon indeed illustrates, there’s an inherent risk in blending something so exceedingly intimate with something so exceedingly volatile.

None of these victims “had it coming” in any way, shape or form. But hopefully, this phenomenon will come to an abrupt halt as we decide to split the tie between sex and technology for the betterment of our less destructive relationships.

Senior staff columnist Cara Smith is a communications junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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