(Source: www.straitstimes.com)

PLEASE DO NOT SEND NUDES

If you think snapping a compromising photo of yourself and sending it to a loved one is harmless fun, you may want to reconsider.

The recent controversy surrounding a US celebrity couple has brought the issue of revenge porn back into the spotlight.

Last Wednesday, Rob Kardashian took to Instagram to post several naked photographs and an intimate video of his girlfriend Angela White, also known as Blac Chyna, with another man, to his 9.2 million followers.

He accused White, the mother of his child, of drug abuse and cheating on him with eight men in less than a month.

Many of the pictures, he added, were sent to him by White days earlier to taunt him.

“I have never been so disrespected in my life. I just bought her US$250,000 (S$344,000) of jewellery yesterday. This woman is so disrespectful… and I don’t care,” he said.

When Instagram took down Kardashian’s profile after receiving complaints, the 30-year-old sock designer then took to Twitter to continue his rant to his almost eight million followers there.

In retaliation, White went on Snapchat and accused Kardashian of physically abusing her.

“Don’t try to act like it never happened,” she said in the now-deleted post.

White also said she had been devastated by the developments. “This was a person I trusted… to send those pictures. I just feel betrayed,” she said later.

The law was on White’s side. Revenge porn, or “non-consensual pornography”, has been illegal in California since 2014.

Rob Kardashian turned to social media to post several naked photographs and an intimate video of his girlfriend Angela White. PHOTO: ROB KARDASHIAN

It is classified as such when the offender intentionally distributes photos or videos meant to be private with the intention to cause “serious emotional distress”.

Some observers have pointed out that White “liked” Kardashian’s incriminating posts about her, so she could not have suffered any emotional distress.

But White’s lawyer Lisa Bloom said: “I don’t think I’ve ever met a victim of revenge porn who was not distressed by what happened.”

White was granted a temporary restraining order against Kardashian, who has also been barred from posting photos of her and her children on social media.

The outlandish series of events playing out in the United States seems far-fetched to many netizens here.

But in April, a 21-year-old man was jailed for four weeks for revenge porn in Singapore after uploading 20 nude photographs of his former girlfriend to content-sharing site Tumblr.

He was angry with her for communicating with another man and promised to “make her suffer”.

Filmmaker Jun Chong compiles interesting stories about people’s relationship with their bolsters or “chou chous” in an online series. PHOTO: JUN CHONG

The prosecution said the impact on the woman was “severe and irreversible”. The 21-year-old woman said she felt embarrassed, ashamed and guilty about the release of her intimate photos.

Mr Bryan Tan, technology partner at law firm Pinsent Masons MPillay, said that there are several laws that can be used to protect a victim. And culprits will be liable even if they upload the photos to a server located overseas, as such an act may contravene the law.

He encouraged local social media users to practise strict online discipline.”You think it’s safe sending intimate photos. But they remain on that person’s phone and there’s a chance such photos might be leaked,” he said. “In the first place, refrain from taking such compromising photographs and you’ll be safe.”

BOLSTER LOVE

The relationship one has with a bolster is an extremely intimate and personal one.

And that is what 26-year-old filmmaker Jun Chong wants to highlight in an online series which explores the strings that bind a man (or woman) and what is affectionately known as a “chou chou” (smelly thing).

Mr Chong has managed to wrangle several interesting profiles in a series he has posted on Facebook and Instagram.

In one example, a young woman says she decided to take her bolster with her during an exchange programme as she “couldn’t leave it alone at home”.

She eventually had to hide the bolster under her blanket to keep it from the prying eyes of friends who popped by her room.

“It is a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s like my mistress,” she says.

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In another, a woman likens sharing her bolster with her sister, who is nine years younger, to a custody battle.

Both siblings want to spend equal time with the headrest.

In the end, she said, the siblings settled on an agreement which gave her four days a week with the bolster, and her sister the other three. “In the end, my auntie couldn’t stand it any more, so she bought another pillow of the same size for my sister,” she said.

Chong says he looks for interesting stories to tell when reaching out to bolster owners.

“The impact a ‘chou chou’ has on the formative years of one’s life is inexplicable,” he says wryly. “There is a bigger cultural phenomenon behind this seemingly personal object.”

This is not Chong’s first foray into a multimedia series on social media. His previous projects include objects found in his grandmother’s house, a series of photos on Instagram about the excessiveness of Chinese New Year and a collaboration with local filmmaker Royston Tan using local cakes as clothing or accessories.

More Info: www.straitstimes.com

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