A 31 year old Italian woman, Tiziana Cantone committed suicide after a video of her engaging in a sexual act became viral on the internet. Here’s more.
According to the Guardian, Cantone had sent the video of herself to some friends including an ex-boyfriend, although other sources including La Repubblica report that she had sent the video to five friends whom she trusted.
She was unaware that the video would subsequently be posted on the internet and social media, and be viewed almost a million times. In the video she said, “You’re filming? Bravo”, to her lover. The phrase became a mocking joke and was printed on memes, T-shirts, smart phones and other items.
People started recognizing Cantone and random strangers would insult her. She had to quit her job, move cities and even tried to change her name.
After a long court battle she won a “right to be forgotten” ruling, ordering the video to be removed from various sites and search engines but it was too late. She had also been ordered to pay huge legal costs.
“She was suffering from everything she saw and heard and in particular from the outcome of the legal proceedings, because she believed justice had not been done,” said her mother.
Some people have continued to condemn her and blame her for this fate, as she had consented to being videotaped and had herself shared it, although she never intended for it to become public. This tragedy again highlights how vulnerable women are to cyber bullying and other cyber crimes.
I had recently written about women’s ‘honour‘ and how it is a patriarchal, regressive concept used to deny women of their freedom. But how does a woman in such an unpleasant situation feel, and cope with the damage? Vincenzo De Luca, the governor of Campania, Cantone’s home region, said something very meaningful:
“We need to do more work to prevent this sort of thing from happening, starting with schools, where we’ve seen an increase in bullying and girls who commit suicide because of what happens on the internet. I want to send a message to girls – don’t be ashamed. Everyone has moments of weakness and poor judgment.”
Cyber laws need to be regulated, big time. We may not like to accept this, but the reality is that our generation is susceptible to online abuse and we are not equipped to deal with it, technologically, emotionally, psychologically.
As families we could tell girls that no matter what, we would be there for support. If she becomes a victim of misuse of a picture / video she should be told that it was NOT her fault. It could be a mistake or a judgment error, but not a crime.
Whatever humiliation she may face because of it would be temporary but she can recover from it. We should not just provide education to our daughters, but empower them to face any situation in life with courage.
Image Source: Youtube