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Why Shutting Down Non-Consensual Porn Matters

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, October 12, 2012 18:33 EDT
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A few weeks ago, I was on a subway car with a woman who got into a confrontation with a man who was trying to forcibly recruit her into the porn he no doubt shares with buddies online. “Give me your phone!” she said, over and over again, in increasingly angry tones. “Give me your phone so I can delete the pictures!”

“Shut up, you crazy bitch!,” he yelled at the woman, who was an attractive dark-haired woman who looked to be in her early 20s, wearing a denim jacket and a miniskirt. “I didn’t take your picture.”

“Then let me see your phone!,” she replied, I thought making a really good point.

He resorted to the inevitable: “Like anyone would want to take a picture of you, you crazy bitch.” At this point, all doubt in my mind he had taken the creep shot was erased. No one who is innocent says that. The sentence only works if you assume he’s inhabited the mind of a man who takes pictures of unwilling women to share with men to leer over online, and was simply denying she was worthy of his harassing attentions.

I was getting increasingly worried he was going to get violent, especially since she seemed determined to continue confronting him, as he quickly hid his phone away so she couldn’t delete his pressure pictures of her. I could already read the text he would no doubt include, bragging about how he showed her, and how she thought that she could fight him, but how he eventually overcame her. Online, to his buddies, he would read like the conquering hero, putting the “crazy bitch” in her place, denying her the right to consent to be used as a sex object by him and his friends. In real life, however, he was starting to sweat bullets like the coward he was. I started to get up. No one else was going to help her, and while he was bigger than me, I was convincing myself that his clear cowardice might be enough to make him back down from two women yelling at him.

Then the train stopped and he scurried away. The woman declined to chase him, giving up hope of preventing a pervy picture of her from being posted online against her will.

I thought, at the time, that the reason no one else was interceding was for the typical reason—we’re hoping it all resolves without it getting out of hand, we fear making it worse, we don’t know what to do, etc.

But reading Adrien Chen’s harrowing tale of how Reddit allowed a known sexual predator—a man who went out of his way to humiliate and degrade thousands of girls and women, a man who especially loved hurting teenage girls by posting non-consenting “creep shots”, a man who filled the internet with racist bile that even celebrated genocide, a man who bragged about repeatedly raping his stepdaughter and cowing his wife into accepting it—to become a powerful moderator and one of the most celebrated members of the community, another theory popped into my head. Maybe some of the passengers thought of the situation as Michael Brutsch’s friends and online defenders apparently do. Maybe it just never occurred to them that the woman being stalked by this fan of non-consensual amateur porn was a full human being who deserves the basic right to travel from point A to point B without being forced into being sexually humiliate for the world to see.

Well, I’m super glad Chen is a much better man than those who stood by and let Brutsch be treated like a hero for treating girls and women like garbage. His words towards the end of his expose moved me:

Under Reddit logic, outing Violentacrez is worse than anonymously posting creepshots of innocent women, because doing so would undermine Reddit’s role as a safe place for people to anonymously post creepshots of innocent women.

I am OK with that.

So am I.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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