Being Sent Dick Pictures? No Worse Than Sexual Harassment

We're all suffering from the 'casualisation of genitalia,' apparently

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by Rebecca Holman |

Smartphones have long been blamed for the world’s ills: they’re making our ears too long, giving us wrinkled brows and it's probably their fault that you once walked backwards into a glass door when trying to take a selfie, bruising both your head and your ego.

Now our phones are also said to be causing the ‘casualisation of genitalia’, a phrase that’s been coined by a 21-year-old student at the University of Sydney, writing for the college paper Honi Soit. In her article, she talks about a male acquaintance who, within hours of bumping into her and agreeing to meet for a drink, sent her a dick picture on Snapchat.

‘I can’t help but wonder if the casualistation of genitalia on our gadgets has got us forgetting exactly what constitutes harassment,’ she said. ‘As your average 21-year-old, I’ve seen my fair share of cock ’n’ balls (trust me on this one), but... it’s time we stopped laughing at this practice and start calling it what it is.’

READ MORE: 14-Year-Old Girl Sues Classmate For Sharing Naked Snapchat Of Her

She makes a good point. A guy waves his dick at you in the street and it’s indecent exposure. If he sends you one on Snapchat (or opts for a cock picture on Tinder – you know who you are), then it’s ‘LADs banter’. (The guys who send dick pics are clearly also the same guys who use the word banter unironically.)

A study carried out last year revealed that 80% of 21-year-olds have received a sext at some point, and 50% have sent a nude or semi-nude photo. Tit pics and dick pics have become the norm – just another way in which people communicate with each other.

This week it was reported that Snapchat, which automatically deletes any pics you send 15 seconds after they’re opened, is now more popular than Twitter and you can see why. In theory, it allows us to send what we like, to whomever we like, with far fewer consequences.

But what about when it’s unsolicited? Connie, a 25-year-old stylist was asked to Facetime with someone from an unfamilar email address one day in the office. Assuming the call was work-related, she answered, only to find herself face to face with a man masturbating.

‘I was absolutely dumbfounded. I froze and looked at my colleague and eventually screeched, “OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!!” I showed my colleague the screen before promptly taking a screenshot for potential evidence and hanging up the call,’ she tells The Debrief.

‘As soon as I’d hung up, I was bombarded with a string of sexually aggressive messages: “Are you horny baby? Let me see your pussy. I wanna fuck your tight pussy”, etc. I replied simply by asking where he got my number from. “A jewellery website” he said without hesitation. The PR company I worked for at the time had my number on a few of our fashion client’s sites, so he must have been Googling for random girl’s names and numbers.’

READ MORE: This Pub Is Hiring Staff Exclusively Through Snapchat

The messages stopped when Connie threatened to go to the police, but the whole experience left her shaken. ‘I have two underage sisters, who both have iPads and iPhones and it dawned on me that such an incident could have easily happened to one of them, and it could have been one of them picking up the call instead of me. Sickened at the thought, I contacted the police.’

Connie later found out that the man was suspected of more serious sexual assaults, but the police merely cautioned him as he had ‘severe learning difficulties’.

If the internet is an unregulated Wild West, our phones are the place where this world of trolls, sub-Reddits and amateur porn bleeds into our real lives, whether we want it to or not. Sexual harassment takes on a whole new scary level when you can essentially get flashed by someone who isn’t even in the same country as you.

But what are we supposed to do about it? Canadian police launched an app called Send This Instead which generates a scathing text response for teens unsure as to how to respond to an unwanted nudie. There’s even a Reddit thread dedicated to how to politely decline a dick picture.

And the general consensus? There’s no need for the polite part. If a guy’s sending you pictures of his semi-on without you asking, express your disappointement via emoji, block them, and move on. This guy is not the future father of your children.

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Follow Rebecca on Twitter @rebecca_hol

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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