If people could just stop victim-blaming Rabi Pirzada, that'd be great

If people could just stop victim-blaming Rabi Pirzada, that'd be great

On Friday, the singer's personal photos and videos of a sexual nature were made public against her will.
Updated 02 Nov, 2019

On Friday, singer Rabi Pirzada's personal photos and videos of a sexual nature were leaked and widely circulated on social media. Many watched and many more had a lot to say.

"She shouldn't have made those videos in the first place."

"Ladies, beware and don't believe in dekh kar delete kardunga."

Some doubted the authenticity of the videos and came up with their own conspiracy theories about who could be behind the leak.

None of that matters.

Whether or not those videos are real and whether or not they were properly deleted should not be anyone's concern. Whether she really made them or why is also nobody's business; she is entitled to sexual privacy just like any other public or private figure.

What matters is that they were clearly made public against her will and weaponised against her.

We need put an end to this victim-blaming mentality and put the shame where it belongs, with the offender of an electronic assault such as this, not the victim whose privacy was violated.

And she is a victim here. The dissemination of explicit videos or photos without their consent subjects a person to emotional distress, psychological trauma and public humiliation.

In a country like Pakistan, where women exercising their sexual agency can bring "dishonour" to the family, circulating images of such nature can have even more dangerous consequences.

Whether her videos were leaked in revenge for a perceived slight, to blackmail her or by someone who came across an old phone she sold to the second hand market does not change the fact that leaking private personal data without consent of its owner and subject is unethical. And a crime, under the 2016 Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act.

If convicted, an individual can be sent to prison and fined as well. However, this hasn't stopped the spate of hate.

What is also deeply disturbing is that even now, more than 24 hours later, men on social media are still openly asking for and sharing her videos, collecting and trading them like Pokemon cards, and hashtags are inundated with links to download.

The expression of faux outrage is particularly hypocritical; those who seek and watch the videos are the same ones involved in harassing, publicly shaming and ridiculing Pirzada for making them in the first place.

In her latest tweet since the incident, Pirzada has written that whoever conceals the faults and sins of another, God will do the same for them on the Day of Judgement:

Stop sharing the 'leaked' data. Report those posts. Instead of slut-shaming and moral policing her, start calling out the perpetrator who violated her consent.

We're hoping Pirzada is staying strong in the face of such dreadful abuse and vehemently condemn this breach of her and any person's privacy.

Complaints related to cyber crimes and online harassment can be reported to the Federal Investigation Agency here.