North Texas Daily

The Marine Facebook scandal set women’s rights back

The Marine Facebook scandal set women’s rights back

The Marine Facebook scandal set women’s rights back
April 25
21:48 2017

Victoria Almond | Staff Writer

Breakups can be nasty, but few expect their explicit photos to end up on Facebook for others to see.

The Marine Corps has recently been under fire for the actions of some service members. It all began on March 4 when Marine veteran James Brennan exposed a Facebook group called “Marines United,” which was found to be responsible for sharing explicit photos of women.

The 30,000-member group had an iCloud drive of nearly 2,500 photos and videos of women performing explicit acts, as well as the victims’ names, ranks and duty stations. This has led to other problems, including some female service members being followed home and receiving death threats.

Many of the photos and videos were posted without the victims’ consent or were used as revenge porn to further victimize the women. Many of the women were in previous relationships with those who posted the media and depended on the idea that their trust wouldn’t be broken like this. It’s one thing to have an elongated breakup or tell your friends what a nasty person your ex was, but sharing nudes over social media is another matter entirely, and in many states it is illegal.

Marines United was a way for active-duty and veteran service members to form a community with each other and to promote suicide awareness, but it turned into a place to exploit female service members and civilians. Beyond them, other groups such as Just the Tip of the Spear and Pog Boot F—s have also promoted explicit photos and derogatory comments towards military women.

In fact, one of my photos ended up on the JTTOTS website, where many comments included “would smash,” “I would f— her” and “how dare a wook [or military female] wear my uniform.”

Victoria Almond in her Marine uniform, which received a lot of online backlash from a fledgling military site. Victoria Almond.

Female Marine Facebook groups continuously fought back by reporting these groups. Marines United was eventually shut down on Facebook, but some of the members continued sharing explicit media through other avenues.

This doesn’t just apply to the Marines, as CBS and Business Insider each reported that the scandal involved other military branches and similar activities that happened on digital bulletin boards.

To me, it means this isn’t the end of such grotesque actions from people who, being military affiliated, should hold themselves to a higher standard. The actions of these few don’t speak for the entirety of the military, but their actions do impair the ideas of brotherhood and sisterhood within the military.

Just imagine, ladies, that while in a relationship you trusted your partner with explicit photos of yourself because you’re “in love,” or with the unspoken trust that he would never share those photos. But after breaking up sometime down the road, you find yourself Facebook famous, receiving nasty messages from people you’ve never heard from before.

Now on the flip side, gentlemen, I’ve heard two chief complaints from you. “Females shouldn’t post nudes of themselves if they didn’t want to end up in groups” is one. You are correct, if explicit photos and videos were never shared in the first place, there wouldn’t be the possibility of them ending up online. But I will also question how many of you are guilty of asking a female for explicit photos. Or of sending your own “d–k pics?”

“Some of those women wanted the attention” is another. Again, you are correct. There are two sides to this scandal – those who wanted to share nudes, and those who fell victim to revenge porn. This doesn’t validate the actions, however, of both men posting without consent and of women posting for attention.

As a Marine, you are held to high standards including integrity, “honor, courage and commitment.” Even if you have never commented or posted in said groups, but are a part of them, there is this thing called “guilty by association.” In the eyes of others, you’re a member who encourages said actions, and through membership of said group, it can be assumed that you agree with said actions. If you were smart, you would leave and seek that sense of “brotherhood and sisterhood” elsewhere instead of being involved with the perpetrators.

As a female Marine, I expect to trust my brothers and sisters. No one asks to be victimized or shamed. More importantly, no one asks for their privacy to be invaded or attacked. There is a huge difference between dark humor and these actions. I am not proud of the individuals who “represent” or “represented” the Marine Corps that are responsible for this.

Without trust, there’s no unity and without unity, there is no team, especially within the military. The “underground” sharing of private photos to shame or degrade people is sickening, childlike and disheartening. In the words of Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller, “What is it going to take to accept these [female] Marines as Marines?”

Featured Image: U.S. Marines pose for a group photo after a ceremony at Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, Afghanistan on March 25, 2013. The ceremony celebrated the seventieth anniversary of women in the Marine Corps. Cpl. Ashley E. Santy.

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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