Sydney Dawes| firstname.lastname@example.org| @sydneydawes_95
A New Zealand video and photo campaign that began this month is igniting the global conversation on consent, gender roles, revenge porn and rape culture. The movement, called #MyBodyMyTerms, was organized by New Zealand’s Lizzie Marvelly, a popular singer/songwriter. She, along with folks at women’s blog Villainese, started forming #MyBodyMyTerms in response to a recent controversy dealing with sexual violence.
Makers of the campaign were enraged by the “Roastbusters” scandal, which involved a group of men who bragged about gang-raping inebriated, underage girls through their Facebook page. According to New Zealand’s 3 News, members of this “club” posted videos giving the names of each girl they “roasted.”
The men affiliated with this Facebook page and YouTube videos were never prosecuted for their actions. Police claim that they can take no action because no victim of the Roastbusters has come forward. “In a culture where […] a group of young men can form a club called the ‘Roastbusters’ and get away with it, we need to have some open and honest conversations,” the campaign states on its official site.
In response to the rise on sexual violence in New Zealand, Villainesse, a women’s blog, decided to record various nude and clothed people with the hashtag painted on their bodies.
#MyBodyMyTerms wanted to address issues many consider “touchy,” including sexual assault, sexting and sexual activity in general, in addition to making people rethink the way they view others.
“Having safe, consensual sex doesn’t make me a slut,” Marvelly states in the campaign video, which has over 11,000 views on YouTube. #MyBodyMyTerms pushes for consent education, which contrasts from the current model of teaching women how to not get raped. This campaign is working to shift the blame on rapists, not victims.
Other topics, such as revenge porn, are also addressed in the video, especially by speaker Guy Williams. “When you share private pictures of someone without their consent, you violate them.” For clarification, revenge porn, according to Harvard Civil Liberties – Civil Rights Law Review, refers to “the public online posting of nude or sexually explicit pictures of a person, often with attached identifying information or derogatory comments.” Revenge porn is often posted by — you guessed it — jealous or spiteful exes.
In the U.S., laws against revenge porn vary by state. An article by C.A. Goldberg law firm states that Ohio is one of the few states in the U.S. with no revenge porn laws.
So, will we see #MyBodyMyTerms at Ohio University? In a way, we already have. Many members of our student body are pushing for social change, especially in areas of sexual expression. You may recognize one project, EmBODY Consent, by its posters, scattered across Athens, depicting Ohio University students holding signs about consent. F*ck Rape Culture, a more prominent movement on campus, puts together marches and protests to help Ohio University students join the conversation on consent.
What Ohio University students have not been emphasizing, though, is the need to have laws that specifically address revenge porn. With the growth and spread of #MyBodyMyTerms, we may see a movement against sharing intimate photos of others in the months to come.