It’s an unpleasant rabbit hole to fall down.
Every day men around Queensland are posting and swapping naked, near-naked or sexually suggestive pictures of women online – even using dedicated message boards to request pictures of specific women.
It’s revenge porn mixed with online stalking and a twisted collectors’ sensibility: Pokemon for porn, you’ve “gotta catch ’em all”.
Fairfax Media has been combing some of these sites to try to understand the language and behaviour of the men who use them, and to empower women to be wary of what they do with intimate pictures.
Clear trends emerge while searching these sites, such as the use of the word “win” to mean a topless or nude picture.
Users also ask for pictures of women from specific regions – or specific women.
“Looking for any wins on girls from Cairns,” one user requests.
“I have a lot of nudes from the girls on the GC and Bris and I am willing to trade wins for wins especially of Rhiannon K,” another writes.
“Will give whole collection for Megan A or Sarah B from Calamvale or around there,” another user posts.
Users egg each other on to track down the most explicit pictures, which can also depict sex acts.
Some look for pictures of women they once went to school with.
“Browns Plains High nudes. Post all you got.”
“Let us hunt for other Bayside sluts!”
The label of “revenge porn” – intimate pictures posted without permission of the subject, often following a relationship breakup – doesn’t entirely capture the collect-and-swap nature of these creep sites, as the origin of the pictures is often murky.
Some are clearly intimate self-portraits taken for lovers. Some are screenshots taken from live video chat programs.
Some are professional or semi-professional glamour shots, possibly culled from online resumes for photographers and models.
Others still are more carefree and casual snapshots that have been taken from the subjects’ own social media accounts, particularly Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat.
They may have been sent by the subjects, or hacked and stolen by users.
What is clear is that these images are stored and used as sexual stimulation.
It is doubtful the majority of women featured in the pictures desired this outcome, however users remain unapologetic about sharing images far beyond where they were originally intended, saying the woman should not have posted it in the first place.
It’s understood some of these sites will remove pictures if they are reported as being of underaged girls.
Queensland police can only act on stolen or misappropriated pictures when a victim makes a complaint – but it’s likely many women would not even know their pictures had been abused in this way.
Publishing links to these creep sites would potentially allow women to see if their pictures were being distributed.
However the negative effects of potentially driving more users to the sites, exposing the women’s pictures further or even driving collector creeps onto the “deep web”, arguably pose a higher risk.
There are some in Australia pushing for laws to cover revenge porn, similar to what is starting to occur in the United States.
In the meantime it seems that as long as there are pictures of women, there will be men who exploit them.