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“I shared a photo”: Good social marketing or victim blaming?

Posted by Tom Megginson | 18-03-2013 16:40 | Category: Abuse


I’m not sure how I feel about this video. Both the talent and the format are designed to bring to mind the chilling video cry for help made last year on YouTube by Amanda Todd.

The Canadian tenth grader from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, committed suicide shortly afterwards. She had previously been conned into sending sexual photos of herself to a man she met online, and the images circulated from there. When her fellow students found out, they bullied her mercilessly.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this campaign is a direct reaction to Amanda Todd’s story. The advertiser is Children of the Street, a British Columbia not-for-profit based in Coquitlam, BC (right next to Port Coquitlam).

The message is important, and I’m sure they’re in it for the right reasons. But to reference the departed teenager so directly seems wrong, somehow. It’s as if they’re blaming her for her initial mistake, rather than putting the blame on the perverts and bullies who manipulated and abused her. It reminds me of the move to change traditional “don’t get raped” messaging, aimed at women, to “don’t rape” messaging aimed at men.

In the wake of the Steubenville, Ohio, rape, in which high school footballers spread pictures of their teammates sexually assaulting an unconscious girl, or the Pitt Meadows, B.C. rape, which was similarly documented and shared online, maybe we would be better telling our kids to “not bully” and “not take joy in the humiliation of others”.

Children of the Street
Cossette, Vancouver
The Inspiration Room


Comments about

Typically in news media, an experienced News Editor will review, edit or kill a story at his discretion. That can be based on checking information for truth, meeting community standards or simple compassion for victims/survivors. With YouTube there are no rules to posting your video… so today’s teenagers make their own decisions (usually based upon getting as many hits as possible so they can boast to their friends). The fact is, they don’t care if they are abusing someone or starting rumours or even promoting rape. They realize the Internet is there to provide those instant info gateways without impunity. They won’t even go to jail because of their age. So where is the risk or punishment?

Trouble is, there is no quick solution to this abusive use of social media. The real problem is the fact that those cruel, twisted teenagers who post these sick messages actually enjoy the thrill of targeting and hurting easy targets. It gives them boasting power within their crowd. I’m sure many of them celebrate the suicides that they are responsible for creating. The reality is they are not ‘sharing a photo’... they are ‘committing a crime of abuse’... and they couldn’t care less.

For all the positive things the Internet brings to peoples lives… the numerous suicides of young people is a negative that outweighs by far the real value and popularity of this unchained, uncontrolled online media. It’s ironic that ‘social media’ doesn’t have any impact in controlling today’s ‘social misfits’.

Posted by Stephen Hards | 20-03-2013 18:48

Comments about

Well said.

Posted by Tom Megginson | 22-03-2013 02:34

My comment


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