CW: Child pornography, sexual harassment, sexual assault, graphic imagery, predatory behaviour
In the past week there has been wide news coverage of a website that has facilitated the upload of nude images of underage and overage women without their consent. This website enables people to request photos of women from certain suburbs, schools, universities, residential halls or by individual name. Over 2,000 photos have been uploaded without consent and many more have been requested.
A federal investigation is now underway to identify those that have engaged with and supported the page.
The objectives of this site are criminal, and the language used on the site is objectifying, aggressive and intimidating.
Photos are requested, traded and hunted on the site. Requests for ‘nudes’ – snaps of ‘rigs’, ‘boxes,’ ‘sluts’ – are made.
When individuals whose images appear on the site have requested that their images be removed, they have had degrading comments, victim blaming commentary and rape threats thrown back at them.
The news of this website has rocked the ANU community. Over 70 schools across Australia have been affected by this website. Members of the ANU community come from all around Australia and the world. Many of our residents have attended, or have friends/family members who have attended the targeted schools.
Universities have also been mentioned alongside residential halls.
“Does anyone have any Bruce Hall wins?”
It is known that ANU students’ photos, described as ‘wins’, have been found on this site, uploaded without consent. It is not known at this time whether images have been uploaded by current students, past students, staff or individuals outside of the ANU community completely.
The ANU VC, Professor Brian Schmidt has stated, that “Posting photos of fellow students without consent isn’t acceptable, nor is participating in commentary on fellow students acceptable.”
ANU Pro-Vice Chancellor for University Experience, Professor Richard Baker, has extended these sentiments stating that, “Students who do so face disciplinary action. Students who are affected are offered counselling and support by the University.”
Katrina Boyd, the Deputy Head of Hall at Bruce Hall has responded saying that “the site is unacceptable and shows a lack of respect towards the women who have had their photos posted. It shows a lack of respect generally. This type of activity is not acceptable in our community. If it is found that one of our residents has contributed to the site (or participated in illegal activities) we would be guided by ANU policy and procedures and cooperate with any police investigation.”
This case has broken not long after Alex Lewis’ Woroni Article outlining the culture at Johns College that led to 14 residents from the hall being disciplined. A group of male Johns students had engaged on an online platform to upload photos of Johns womens’ breasts taken without consent. It was a competition. Photos of the best ‘Mooey’s” (breasts) won.
The community reaction to this article has been diverse. Some have rightfully been disgusted that students thought that this behaviour was acceptable. Others have come out with the cliché responses of “not all men”, “boys will be boys” and “it was just a joke”. It was not a joke – this behaviour is not funny, it is destructive.
This demeaning treatment of women is rife in residential halls, but is not restricted to them. Our community needs to stop brushing off blatant disrespect for women as a joke. If we don’t stand up and say no when micro aggressions occur, they feed into a broader rape culture. It enables sites such as the one currently steam-rolling through the media to continue to operate. This kind of behaviour encourages a persistent disregard of consent.
This kind of behaviour has no place at the ANU. This news has shaken the community but support is here.
** The website has been redirected on 19th of August. This action came weeks after reports were made to the Sex Crimes Squad. One week since the media first featured the story**
If you would like to make a report or seek further information you may like to contact the following:
Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000
Child Protection Helpline 132 111
If you or someone you know has been negatively affected by this article there is support for you.
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
ANU Counselling 6125 2442 – 9:00am to 4:45pm weekdays, closed from 1:00pm to 2:00pm for lunch.
If you have concerns that your name or photo may have appeared on the site you may confidentially contact the ANUSA Women’s Officer (email@example.com) or End Rape on Campus (firstname.lastname@example.org) for support and guidance.