By Fortune Madhuku
As Zimbabwe joins the rest of the World in commemorating the 16 days of activism against gender based violence, it is time to reflect and check how much has been done to empower women so that they do not continue to be victims of violence and abuse.
While great strides have been made in many facets of women’s life, which is quite commendable, there is one area where women are worse off. This area is about the invasion of women’s privacy. It is quite disheartening to note that with the advent of technology and high use of social media, many women have suffered as they have found pictures of themselves in the nude exposed to all and sundry on the internet without their consent. In most of the cases the perpetrators are jilted lovers who post photos and videos of their ex-wives and girlfriends in their birthday suits just to fix them. Such behavior is quite disgusting. A woman’s body is sacred and there is no amount of hatred, disappointment or bitterness that warrants displaying a woman’s naked body on the internet for the whole world to see.
While many people may be quick to blame the women who pose for the photos, knowing fully well the risk involved, the greater portion of the blame should rest on the men who post the photos on the internet. These actions should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
A case that quickly comes to mind is that of Desire Luzinda, a Ugandan songstress, who made headlines recently when her former boyfriend posted her nude photos on the internet in a bid to fix her, a bad trend referred to as ‘revenge porn.’ The songbird has had a colourful music career that saw her releasing several chat topping songs and being regarded as one of Uganda’s finest contemporary musicians. But with her bathroom photos going viral on the internet, her reputation has suffered a major hammering and her ego seriously undermined. Imagine her walking on the streets and everyone she meets knows everything that is behind the skirt and blouse, all this because of an ex-boyfriend who failed to stomach rejection. Very disappointing.
It was quite disturbed to hear the Minister of Ethics and Integrity in Uganda calling for the lady to be arrested as she participated in the shooting of the photos, appreciating that this is seriously prohibited under the East African country’s conservative laws. What is sickening is that no one said anything about the mischievous ex-boyfriend who posted the photos despite that the songstress had posed for the nudes.
The world seems to judge women harshly without apportioning the same amount of blame to the men involved. It is clear that the poor lady allowed her lover to take photos of her in the nude, in private, hoping that the photos would remain the private recording that they are. However, not all love relationships live until the end of times and it is during the rocky times of a relationship that the character of both parties is tested. Some people go to the extent of washing all the dirty linen in public, but it should be emphasised again and again that there is no amount of hatred that can justify displaying photos of naked women to the public, dampening their ego and reputation. Every person has a right to privacy and this should be respected.
While some people may argue that there is no bad publicity as any publicity, good or bad, can propel someone to greater heights, citing the Pokello Nare case where her leaked sex-tape seems to have made her even more popular, there are numerous other cases of women whose careers were seriously shattered by the exposure of compromising recordings on the internet. Think of Tinopona ‘Tin Tin’ Katsande who lost her celebrity status and job as a presenter at ZiFM radio station following the leak of her sex tape. The young and vivacious lady has found it hard to stand on her feet again and is now a pale shadow of her former self.
It is clear that women’s privacy is no longer guaranteed. Many women now live in fear as they have no assurance that tomorrow could be the day that the world will be watching their nude bodies via the internet and social media. For a country whose laws prohibit pornographic material it is strange how the men who expose these pictures and videos are never arrested nor the cases properly investigated. Instead the inclination is to castigate the women and slut-shame them. We clearly live in a patriarchal world!