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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.
The image of her shattered mother being carried away during her funeral is heartbreaking. In a video, she is seen inconsolable after losing her child in such an imaginable way.
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
I like to write about the problems that have plagued the Indian society. I feel
Hi Tanvi, you know, when I began to read the post – I too thought- “what was Tiziana thinking posting that kind of video” !! I too felt judgemental for a teeny bit but reading your post changed my mind. As I continued reading your post I understood what you and the governor of Campania says – “one should not be ashamed-everyone has moments of weakness and poor judgement”. That’s so true and before feeling so self righteous and passing judgement often we must remember this fact ourselves. Also is it that we are so indoctrinated to always expect better caution and judgement from the woman? Is this is yet another gendered situation where the odds are always so heavily stacked against her-everyone goes thinking- she is a woman what is her trip? Why do we almost always do this? Why is it that the expectations of what is appropriate behaviour are way higher for a woman. Why this unnecessary over burdening of the load -does a woman have to always walk a tight rope and even one misstep means certain peril? Why is it that men don’t have to feel so humiliated if they are caught in the same kind of position as the unfortunate lady? Its only because they don’t face this kind of judgement and shaming. Often the men in these same circumstances not only come out unscathed but may even boast or brag about it instead. Like you say we must encourage women to face situations and even perils with fortitude and strength and even a sense of humour too. This need not be the exclusive privilege of a man alone!!! Thank you for helping us see this from a new perspective.
I am glad to know that I managed to influence your thoughts, and look at this from another perspective.
I was deeply saddened by this news, and as I researched more, and read about Tiziana and her family’s anguish, I felt that I needed to write about it. You rightly pointed out, why is it that only women are shamed? I have never heard of any man being humiliated in a situation like this.
I have seen episodes on Crime Patrol where girls have committed suicide because of cyber-crimes. We live in a dangerous world, where one of the easiest ways to take revenge from a girl is to damage her reputation online. It is not just the perpetrator, but everybody who condemns the girl that causes her more trauma. People can become so cruel, judging and shaming a person they may not even know.
In this case, it does not matter that she herself shared the video to selected people. The way she was ridiculed after that was so inhumane. One act did not define her.
I pray for Tiziana’s soul and may her family find strength. Hope they get justice.
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