It is truly shocking that even with vast developments in nearly all areas, for instance, science, technology and education, people are still forced to do something against their will. Some are forced to follow subjects or careers they have no interest in. Some are forced to get married to people they are not attracted to or lead a lifestyle they don’t agree with.
However, force is also taken to another level when it is of a sexual nature. Some people consider sex as something that shouldn’t be spoken or read about. Our science or health science books cover the topic of reproduction, but sex education isn’t something most of us receive.
It is said that ignorance is bless, but ignorance about sexual matters is not bliss and is certainly not something that should be encouraged. When we don’t know what happens and what could be done, we don’t know what is right and wrong. How can a teen who has no idea about sex know when someone sexually abuses them and how would they know that they need to tell someone about what has been done to them?
When an 18 year old from Jaffna was raped recently, stories were published, both on print and online. TV channels and radio stations covered the story in detail. However, there was also the sharing of photographs, especially that of the victim. In fact, certain people even posted pictures of the naked girl, her legs spread wide.
Most people would say such pictures were shared to raise awareness about rape and with the hope that such gruesome images would make people rise against rape and abuse.
Imagine this. You are a victim of abuse. You survived. You go online to find people are sharing the picture taken of your body, bloodied and naked. How would you feel? Would you like it? Maybe you weren’t the victim. Maybe it was a relative, neighbor or friend.
Maybe it was someone you have briefly met. Would you want gruesome pictures of those people to be posted online? Would you want your sister’s or brother’s picture to be shared and commented on?
Rape, abuse, harassment and any violation should be spoken about. People need to know what happens in the country and world we live in. We need to know about these incidents and we need to do something to right these wrongs, to make sure justice is served and that people, regardless of their sex or sexual orientation, do not need to live in fear of being forced into something they don’t want to do.
However, we need to always be aware of the victims. The word victim makes people seem so weak, and while survivor makes them seem strong, it is important to know that people are sensitive and families are sensitive. Would you want to Google your sister’s name only to find pictures of her bloodied body?
Remember that there are ethical concerns when you post anything at all.
This is especially important when it is a sensitive matter. You maybe posting such pictures to make a point, but remember that the content of your post can have a negative impact on the lives of other people.