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Henry Okelue: The Potential Fatality of Sexual “Receipts”

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Nigerian social media is currently agog as a despicable video of sexual intercourse between 2 consenting adults was allegedly leaked by the male participant in the act. The video depicts a young man and young woman engaging in different acts of coitus. The man’s face is not visible on the video, but the lady’s is clear enough for anyone who is associated or related to her to know who she is. If the lady, her relatives or associates see this footage, it is without doubt going to cause them so much despair, discomfort, and shame. It is also capable of impacting the lady’s career negatively. This is an incident of revenge porn.

Revenge Porn or Revenge Pornography, according to Wikipedia, is the distribution of sexually explicit images or video of individuals without their permission. The sexually explicit images or video may be made by a partner of an intimate relationship with the knowledge and consent of the subject, or it may be made without his or her knowledge. The possession of the material may be used by the perpetrators to blackmail the subjects into performing other sex acts, to coerce them into continuing the relationship, to punish them for ending the relationship, or to silence them.

The people who perpetrate this dastardly act, mostly men, do it, most times, as a means of punishment. They do it to inflict maximum hurt of a psychological kind and they very well know the consequences to the victim. In a society like ours, they also know they might get away with it, at worst with a mere slap on the wrist. Well, that has changed somewhat now.

Revenge porn can now also hurt the perpetrator too, if the victim decides to take it up legally. There now exists a law in place in Nigeria to make sure justice is served as this act is now a criminal offence in many jurisdictions. In Nigeria, the offence of revenge porn is implied in the Cyber Crime Prohibition Act 2015 in section 24 under “Cyberstalking”.

According to the Act:

Any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that –

(a) is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any such message or matter to be so sent; or

(b) he (or she) knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent:

commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7, 000,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

The punishment for this act should be made even more stringent. Adding such criminals to a sex offenders register might increase the weight of deterrent to others who might want to do it in future. This is my thought.

Beyond that, social media companies need to do more to curtail this menace. They should put in place a mechanism that will make removal of such offensive videos from their platform faster, and also impose punishments like account suspension and deletion on perpetrators.

Sex is a beautiful thing, but it should not be allowed to be weaponized in this way, especially when it is capable of destroying an individual irreparably.

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Henry Okelue is an IT Consultant in Abuja – article originally published on Opera. With permission from the writer NewsWireNGR is allowed to republish.

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