In a Loop TT Article; Amanda Mc Intyre, co-director of local feminist group WOMANTRA, condemned the victim shaming of women whose photos have been shared online without their permission.
"Mc Intyre is calling for an end to misogynistic attitudes within society, saying that these acts should be treated as crimes and the perpetrators should be punished as such.
Her comments come after local model Nikitha Cornwall claimed her photos were stolen from her phone by a staff member of a local smartphone repair store in Movietown after she took her phone to be repaired.
She later made a public post to social media condemning the repair store.
In anger and retaliation, the owner of the store shared her photos to social media; however he later apologised for his actions.
Mc Intyre says that regardless of the circumstances, the issue of data sharing without permission must be addressed.
“Firstly, she did nothing wrong. She could do whatever she wants with her phone and her images. She is entitled to privacy and she is entitled to complete autonomy over her body.”
“This woman was violated and it is unfortunate that our conversation has gone in the direction of questioning what she should or should not have done to protect herself instead of condemning this as a breach of privacy.”
She also criticised comments from the public that women should hide themselves and not take photos of themselves on their personal smartphones, which many users have said in comments to social media.
“This is not the first time we have had a situation like this. Last year it happened when a member of the then government had an issue with his ex-girlfriend and years ago we had a similar situation with one of our former pageant queens.”
“Yet, from one instance to the next our conversation has not advanced. There is still ‘victim blaming.’ Part of what ‘victim blaming’ does is it takes the attention away from the perpetrator.”
“There is some degree of absolution for the person who does the act of violation and that is a travesty.”
Mc Intyre said that asking women to hide their photos is similar to them being told to cover up in order to prevent rape; the crime lies not with their decision to take photos but with people who violate their rights to privacy.
“People shouldn’t have to check their phones or laptops before submitting them to be fixed. That is similar to saying to young women that they should wear certain clothes so they wouldn’t be raped.”
“There is nothing indecent about what she has on her phone. What is indecent is what the company did. The indecency is in how certain members of the public have reacted with condemnation.”
Mc Intyre is calling for justice to be served in this case and all similar cases moving forward.
“This matter should be treated as a criminal offence. Nikitha and all others who have been in a situation such as this should have legal redress.”
Cornwall’s attorneys are now considering the matter with a view to determining whether to file a civil claim against the parties concerned for money damages on injunctive relief for breach of contract, breach of privacy and other possible civil wrongs.
Recently cricketer Lendl Simmons was ordered to pay account executive Therese Ho $150,000 after sharing her private photos online.
In his landmark ruling Justice Frank Seepersad condemned the archaic laws, or lack thereof, surrounding matters relating to the internet and social media in Trinidad and Tobago."