The humanity in sex scandals

I’m not saying any names. If you’re reading this, you probably already know the events which have spurred me pulling out my laptop to write. My timeline has been a whirlwind of arguments about feminism, jokes at the victim’s expense and a bunch of other stuff I won’t even bother explaining.

But something I see missing from so much of the discourse about this sex scandal, and many others like it, is an acknowledgment of the very real people involved in these scandals. Yes, those people you watch on your phone or laptop, those people you have seen at their most vulnerable, are real. They have family and friends.

Imagine living your life as normal, engaged to the love of your life, when suddenly your social media is flooded with illicit photos and videos you never believed would leave your personal possession. You have to go about your day knowing that aside from your parents and coworkers, thousands of strangers have seen your naked body against your consent.

Doesn’t that sound awful?

I cannot imagine something like that happening to me.

She is only five years older than me. She is, or rather, we are, so young. You know what young people do? They mess up. They make mistakes. They put themselves in bad situations because in our youth, we feel invincible. We don’t dwell on the worst case scenario.

Should we? Yeah, of course. But do we? No!

“Well, then she shouldn’t have become a celebrity!” says some guy on Twitter who probably who probably watched the leaked footage all the way through.

Right. She shouldn’t have followed her dreams because of the possibility of being hacked. Should she have waited to wrestle until she was older, and her body was worn down? Perhaps she should have held off until she was in her mid thirties, and the internet suggested she retire because she looks to old to wrestle.

Say what you want about her being irresponsible making the video in the first place, but if we’re going to be “realists” here, I’ll give you some facts.

  1. She can do what she wants in private.
  2. Shaming her on the internet will not change her, but it could hurt her.

I’m angry, yes, but mostly, I’m just sad. Sad to see so many people making jokes at the expense of a young woman who is still growing as a person, whose body is now out there to be judged and god knows what else to.

So to my friends who are making jokes, I ask you this, though I really wish I didn’t have to:

If that was my body posted to the internet against MY will, would you still laugh? Your mother’s? Your sister’s or daughter’s? Would you make jokes about something that will haunt me whenever I have to look my parents or coworkers in the eye?

If your answer is yes, we were never friends to begin with.

These people we watch on television aren’t paper dolls. They aren’t just objects to be gawked and laughed at. They are human beings. They have feelings and fears and right now, their lives are being thrown quite suddenly into chaos.

I’m not trying to start any fights. I’ve seen friends of mine trying to make light of this. But at this point, I don’t find it funny anymore. I’m not laughing. I’m just…really, really sad.

It might be funny if they were just characters. Probably not even then.

But they’re not. They’re people too.

We should try to remember that.