I saw this headline from Forbes and mostly agreed. Dozens of nude photos, either deleted by female celebrities in the past, stolen from the ever-mystifying-iCloud, or faked by sleazy hackers to make it look like the celebs were leaked on 4Chan over the weekend. The leak was blamed at first on Apple’s security, but the company later denied they had anything to do with leak on “9 to 5 Mac.”
Our customers’ privacy and security are of utmost importance to us. After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the [I]nternet. None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved.
However, the majority of responses I have heard related to this scandal were that these women shouldn’t have taken the photos of themselves in the first place. This of course concerns me. “I’ve never heard anyone respond to financial hacking by saying, Just don’t use online banking. That’s what you get for using credit cards,” as Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) wrote on Twitter.
Outlets as mainstream as People and CNN are referring to the photo leak as a “scandal,” said Forbes writer, Scott Mendelson. All due respect, it’s not a scandal…You may argue, without any intended malice, that it may be unwise in this day-and-age to put nude pictures of yourself on a cell phone which can be hacked and/or stolen. But without discounting that statement, the issue is that these women have the absolute right and privilege to put whatever they want on their cell phones with the expectation that said contents will remain private or exclusive to whomever is permitted to see them just like their male peers. The burden of moral guilt is on the people who stole said property and on those who chose to consume said stolen property for titillation and/or gratification.
It’s sad that we still live in a society that blames the rape victim instead of the rapist, and where we shame girls for wearing shorts instead of teaching boys how to respect girls and not take advantage of them. We still live in a society where men actually agree with the statement, “[i]f someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously. People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!” And, like the actions above, comments and actions of those seeking the leaked photos of these female celebrities are only part of the problem.
While clicking on these photos might not technically in legal terms be considered sexual assault, as TIME would like to argue, it does make me think of the American Psychological Association’s definition of sexual abuse stating that “sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.” This speech, and the conscious action of condemning the hackers, but then doing exactly it is what they want you to do with the photos, still attributes to our rape culture, which TIME also talks about, and it has a damaging affect.
In the process people are telling these hackers it’s okay to invade women’s privacy and spread intimate photos all over the world when they click on the leaked photos, and this does nothing to help women in any way. These smaller acts contributing to rape culture are validating and encouraging those who do rape, or would like to rape women, that it’s okay to continue doing what they are doing because society openly accepts and thinks this way of life is amusing.
The nude photo leak isn’t a “scandal” in society’s definition of the word, but it is a sex crime involving abuse, and you really shouldn’t click on those photos.