News Ireland Online protest planned after thousands of images leaked online

Online protest planned after thousands of images leaked online

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An online protest is being organised to campaign for a change in the laws after tens of thousands of cases of image-based sexual abuse were shared on a number of online forums.

As the Irish Examiner reports, the protest hopes to bring in laws which will protect victims of these sorts of attacks, in which, naked or sexually explicit images or videos are shared without the consent of the party involved.

It comes after a massive ‘leak’ saw thousands of images and videos, mainly of Irish women, shared on forums.

The Victims Alliance became aware of the mega-files over the last number of days.

“We at the Victims Alliance, through our head of image-based abuse Megan Sims, became aware of an issue where people are using internet forums to share images, some intimate, some not, into mega files.

“The one common theme is that the victims are unaware that their images are being used in this way,” said Linda Hayden, Founder of the Victims Alliance.

“We even have examples where people have sent these images to members of the victim’s families. To give the context of the size of the issue, some of these files have 11,000 images in them, most have between 5,000 and 6,000. We have seen dozens of these files.”

According to Ms Hayden, images have been taken from various platforms including Only Fans, Tinder, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

A large number are also taken without knowledge or consent in changing rooms or while women are sleeping.

“The files that we are talking about pertain mostly to Irish women, with some men, but until we manage to contact all of the victims, we won’t know for sure.

“They have had their consent and body autonomy removed, they have been degraded, and they are fearful of who has seen these images, what they are using them for and if this will affect their work, personal and family life.

Ms Hayden said a large proportion of victim-blaming has been seen around the crime of image-based abuse.

She added “An attitude of ‘well if you didn’t want this to happen you shouldn’t have taken the pictures’ and in response to that we say ‘cop on’. It’s our body, our choice, but likewise, we maintain control over the consent around these images.”

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