Reported leak of UST students’ private photos, videos earns condemnation

May 31, 2019 - 4:13 PM
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Women in shadows
Stock photo of young women standing in the shadows. (Unsplash/File photo)

Two women’s organizations condemned the leakage of a controversial website link that contained alleged private photos and videos of female students from different schools within Metro Manila.

The link was originally shared by an anonymous Twitter account which tagged different organizations of the University of Santo Tomas, one of the schools purportedly involved.

The account claimed that male students from UST’s College of Engineering leaked the photos and videos in a Facebook group chat—where one of the members is supposedly a professor—without consent of the girls.

The screenshots were shared in a Google Drive which was publicly posted online.

“Yung mga baboy mula sa UST Engineering, hindi lang sa UST tuma-target ng private photos na i-li-leak. Halos lahat ng schools sa Metro Manila — college man o high school (na menor de edad) — may files sila,” the Twitter account claimed in the thread.

It also alleged that a “UST alumna” already came forward and said that one of the engineering students in the group chat made “‘creepy advances in the past.”

Women’s party-list Gabriela condemned the leakage and urged the victims to come forward so that appropriate actions would be taken.

“We strongly condemn this as we open our lines to the victims to discuss possible courses of action,” the group’s statement reads.

RELATED: Gabriela to help victims of chat group that shared their private photos, videos

This is the latest in a string of voyeurism and sexual harassment cases involving students, some of whom were found to be minors.

UST Hiraya, an intersectional feminist organization, similarly slammed the leakage and said it will coordinate with the UST Central Student Council on filing a complaint against the offenders.

“This is not only an attack against the victims, but for all women who face the struggle of being harassed everyday,” the school-based organization said.

 

UST Central Student Council president-elect Robert Gonzales also mentioned that the issue has been forwarded to the university’s Office for Student Affairs “for prompt action.”

“Indecency and objectifying women should and must never be tolerated,” he wrote in a tweet.

Students as victims 

Earlier this week, six male students of the Philippine Science High School did not participate in graduation rites following news that they spread naked pictures of their ex-girlfriends—who were their fellow students—among themselves and on the internet.

The incident was condemned by the PSHS Main Campus’ Executive Parents Teachers Council and Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy of President Rodrigo Duterte’s communications office.

Despite this, three of the students were able to receive diplomas while others will be granted certificates of completion “after requirements that are part of [the] penalty are completed or served.”

The decision earned criticisms from concerned Filipinos who noted how the incident will affect the victims in the long run, with some of them still being minors.

Psychiatrist Sharon Moore wrote that victims of voyeurism may be at risk of developing stress disorder or hypervigilant behavior after the invasion of their privacy.

Anisha Joseph, the head of the sexual assault care center at Singapore’s Association of Women for Action and Research, noted that victims are likely to suffer from feelings of being intimidated, ashamed, angry or powerless.

RELATED: Reddit forum closed over inappropriate content against women

The newly signed Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act in the Philippines punishes the uploading and sharing of photos and videos of sexual content on the internet without victims’ consent.

RELATED: Philippines’ streets should be safer for women with new law signed

Unauthorized recording and sharing of the victim’s photos, videos, or any information online is deemed prohibited as well.

Offenders may be jailed for six months and one day to six years or be fined with P100,000 to P500,000.