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The Rise of Uninvited Sexual Images

78 percent of millennial women have received "unwanted" sexual images.

Source: Pixabay

With the majority of people armed with smartphones, we're no longer a society that can afford to have oops moments or meltdowns in public with running the risk of it going viral.

The latest trend, thanks to technology, that the New York subway system is experiencing, is men using iPhone AirDrop to send unsuspecting passengers in the same train car a picture of their crotch. This is becoming wildly popular, especially for millennials, according to new data by YouGov Omnibus.

Why do men assume people are interested in their private parts?

Fifty-three percent of millennial women have received a "dick pic," and of those women, 78 percent received unwanted sexual images.

The majority of women labeled this behavior as both gross (49 percent) and stupid (48 percent) while just under a quarter of them (24 percent) felt sad. Whereas when the men were asked what terms they thought women would use to label "dick pics," they also selected "gross" as number one (32 percent) but then their second choice went straight to "sexy" (30 percent). It's obvious there's a breakdown in communication between sexes on the merits of nudes.

Yael Bame, the writer of the YouGov survey says,

“Something I found intriguing in our data was that more millennial women have a received an unsolicited dick pic than have been sent one because they asked for one (69 percent). Given this, as well as the very different adjectives millennial men and women would use to describe dick pics, our study suggests that the sexes may have crossed wires a bit when it comes to what women think when they get a surprise naked photo on their phone from a man.” ​

If you think that sending "dick pics" is only for today's youth, you're mistaken. Over a third of 35- to 54-year-old adults have been sent one, as well as 8 percent of those over the age of 55, reports YouGov.

Sexting scandals and revenge porn

Revenge porn also known as non-consensual porn is a growing problem in our country. Data and Society Research Institute reported that one in 25 Americans has been a victim of "revenge porn."

Statistics show that 24 percent of teens and 33 percent of young adults have posted or sent nude or semi-nude photos, which can be a pathway to an embarrassing ending; witness the sexting scandals that have popped up in small towns across America, from Duxbury, Massachusetts, to Cañon City, Colorado.

It's not your fault

Samantha Silverberg, MA, LPC, a licensed clinician who works with the nonprofit Online SOS, says her most important task is to make victims of online shaming understand that they did not do anything to deserve it. “In the moment it feels so overwhelming,” she says. “There’s a lot of negative self-talk that comes up when you experience something like this. I challenge them with evidence… Normalizing and validating are so important. People think, ‘This only happens to me, and it’s something about me.’” It’s common to go through the first four stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, and depression) before finally getting to acceptance.

Since trust is a huge factor, dating and romantic relationships become especially difficult. Those who have been the victims of revenge porn or a sexting scandal often find it difficult to trust ever again, according to psychology professor Michelle Drouin. “People take these transgressions very seriously,” she says. “Having someone betray your trust in one of the most private parts of your life is devastating, no matter [your] age."

Protecting yourself

  • The Internet is public domain. Never assume your images will be private.
  • Put tape or a band-aid over your webcam.
  • Never believe anyone if they promise they will delete the pictures after you send them.
  • You don't have to send a nude picture to be a victim of sextortion.
  • Sextortionists are not always strangers. Give your teen a way out. Let them blame you (the parent), saying they are monitored closely and they will lose their phone if mom or dad finds out.
  • If you're being harassed online, be sure to tell someone and if necessary, report them to the authorities.

Organizations that can help you

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