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11 March, 2021

Revenge Porn: Local men perpetuate woman's trauma

Sarah Jones was forced to leave a Northern Beaches restaurant fearing for her safety recently when yet another man started leering and making sexual gestures at her.

By Nicole Gibson

Devastatingly, this is an experience that is all too familiar for Sarah (not her real name).

She became a victim of Image-based Abuse, commonly known as revenge porn, five years ago when her partner secretly filmed them having sex and uploaded it to the internet after she ended their relationship.

Since then it has been one traumatic experience after the next, being recognized in public and being helpless to do anything about it.

According to the E-Safety Commission, the organization responsible for helping victims of revenge porn, 11 out of every 100 people are victims of image based abuse.

Despite tough laws which include jail time for perpetrators and attempting to get help from the police and the E-Safety Commission, Sarah says she has slipped through the cracks our legal system.

“The first incident was when I was in Woolworths and I was going up and down the aisles and all of a sudden, this man started laughing at me as I went past,” Sarah said.

“I just thought, that’s weird, you know and so I finished shopping, and went to the checkout.

“He just turned around and looked at me up and down and was smirking and leering at me and then he looked at my crotch and he looked up and down at me again and was laughing as he was going away.”

Sarah wasn’t sure what to think but after the third incident she decided to report the matter to police who said without explicit images or video they were unable to continue their investigation.

After enduring a similarly degrading experience on a trip to Kuranda, Sarah took matters into her own hands and approached a man who was leering and gesturing at her.

Sarah says the man confirmed she was in a video on a pornographic website but refused to tell her which one.

She says she was also recognized on work lunch breaks at local eateries and even caught a local man, who worked in the same suburb, showing the video to others.

Sarah has been to the depths of emotional and psychological despair and says even though they did not upload the material, the men who are viewing it and staying silent are perpetuating victims’ trauma.

“I think that men need to start doing what women are doing and speak up,” she said.

“If they’ve got a wife, a mother or daughter, or sister or whatever then speak up and let it come out and stop this insidious stuff.”

Sarah’s case also demonstrates that age is not a determining factor as she is a 68-year-old grandmother.”

Police urge anyone with information on this matter to contact crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.

If you or anyone you know is a victim and needs help contact Cairns Sexual Assault Service on 4031 35 90.


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