Charities have condemned the leak of naked celebrity photos as well as the reaction in some quarters
Anyone who tries to view or share naked images of celebrities leaked on the internet is no better than a thief or sex offender according to a Scottish charity fighting sexual exploitation.
The Scottish Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation (Scase) made the statement after over 100 female celebrities had private photographs put online on website 4Chan this week by an anonymous user.
It is thought the intimate images, including that of Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence, were obtained by a hacker accessing either people’s phones or online storage devices such as Apple iCloud.
It is a sexually aggressive act - intended to shame and humiliate the women involved
A spokesperson for the coalition described the leaking of nude photographs without consent as sexual assault.
“Every person who chooses to go looking for these women's images online should stop and think,” the spokesperson said.
“These were not meant for your perusal and consumption, they were not given freely. They are non-consenually shared and by looking at them - you are feeding the possibility that this will happen again to others. In a way - you are a virtual peeping tom.”
Scase likened viewing the images as the same as spying on someone or going into a person’s bedroom and stealing something.
Anyone caught carrying out those crimes would be labelled a thief or sex offender.
“Just because this happened online - it is still a violation of an individual, their property and their rights,” the spokesperson continued.
“It is a sexually aggressive act - intended to shame and humiliate the women involved.”
Any condemnation should be directed at those responsible for sharing the images
Although the person responsible for uploading the images was widely criticised, many social media users and some social commentators condemned the women in the photographs for taking the pictures in the first place.
This is wrong Tanya Rhodes of Scottish Women’s Aid said.
“Blaming the victims and suggesting that it is their fault for having the pictures taken in the first place, wrongly absolves the person or people who have committed a real and serious crime,” she said.
“Any condemnation should be directed at those responsible for sharing the images.
“This is a violation of privacy and an assault on the individual. It makes no difference whether the victim is a celebrity or not.”
Rhodes also called on people not to search out the images.
She continued: “Sharing private and personal images can only be intended to humiliate and belittle, and is a form of abuse.
“We want to see an end to people being able to hide behind a cloak of online anonymity, and make this sort of activity socially unacceptable.”