December 22, 2016 - SWEDEN - In a recent article written by Irena Pozar in Veckorevyn, a Swedish magazine comparable to Seventeen, Pozar interviews star feminist lawyer Elizabeth Massi Fritz about the dangers revolving around “dick pics”. Fritz discusses this phenomenon, where men send unsolicited pictures of their genitalia to women via text and online, as a form of sexual harassment and emphasizes the importance of immediately reporting dick pics to the police.
The perpetrator was once a naked man clothed in a long trench coat, preying on women as he opened his trench coat and revealed his genitals; this is coined as "flashing" or exhibitionism. Indecent exposure laws in most states declare the act of displaying one's genitals in public a crime, as offenders seek sexual gratification. The modern day phenomena is to use smartphone cameras and send unsolicited dick pics.
“Pictures and verbal abuse are not new phenomenons; they have been around for many years,” Fritz states during the interview. “However, based on my experience, I can see that the climate surrounding the girls and women violated online has become more threatening and common. The Internet has made it possible for perpetrators to reach out easily while concealing their identities as they send anonymous images. This is unacceptable.”
Many young girls and women agree that receiving unsolicited dick pics is a disturbing form of sexual harassment. Perpetrators can easily circulate pictures of their genitalia through numerous outlets, ranging from dating platforms like Tinder to more unconventional avenues such as Apple’s AirDrop function and sending pictures of their penis to women nearby.
The article cites Fritz’s suggestions on the protocol women should take after receiving an unsolicited dick pic. “Save images by taking screenshots and save any other evidence. It’s crucial to establish that right - you have been a victim of crime,” Fritz emphasizes. “There usually exists a user profile or other digital footprints that can reveal who the perpetrator is. Report to the police and remember that you have to right to request a counsel paid by the state; this will help you throughout the legal process.”
According to the article, unsolicited dick pics are always a form of sexual harassment; however, perpetrators may take it to the next level and commit more heinous sexual acts. “There may be instances where they commit sexual acts via a recording or image, and then it can be a question of other crimes, such as child rape, if the victim is younger than 15 years of age,” Fritz explains. “Therefore, it is very important to save all evidence and explain the events carefully to the investigating police.”
A majority of women can attest that unsolicited dick pics are an infringement on their personal security. Regardless, society often normalizes the circulation of dick pics as a phenomenon that men often engage in because it is so common. But sending dick pics is a form of sexual assault when women are blindsided and do not consent to receiving them.
In the article, Fritz closes her interview with a reminder to victims. “Do not forget that you are not alone in receiving these pictures, and it’s never your fault - it is always the perpetrator's fault and the perpetrator must take responsibility for his actions,” Fritz explains. “If a perpetrator is convicted because he sent dick pics, he is subject to a prison sentence as well as other charges.”
To spread word of the harmful effects accompanying dick pics, Fritz has launched a movement/campaign on social media to educate dick pic victims and perpetrators. The hashtag #stoppasnopparna, which translates to #stopthedicks, is the voice of the online movement.
Written by Caroline Lee, Blog Contributor