[Content note: frank discussion of a man’s… frank]
Say you’re texting back and forth on a dating app with someone, and it starts getting a little personal, and you think, “You know what I think this person would like to see? A photograph of my naked genitalia.” So you send the photo. And the other person says, “That’s disgusting! I’m posting that online!” And you say, “I’m so sorry! I seriously thought you’d want to see that. Obviously, I was wrong, and I apologize wholeheartedly. Please don’t post it online. I’m going to leave you alone now.”
Trevor didn’t do that.
Unsolicited naked-selfie sender Trevor found himself a lot more exposed than he’d originally intended when, via the app Let’s Date, he texted a photograph of his junk to an unwelcoming target. Rather than taking his continued harassment quietly, she posted a screencapped account of his harassment to his mother and to her Tumblr, whence it went viral. Internet response has been a mix of “Right on!” and “Serves him right!” with “That’s excessive” and “You wouldn’t feel that way if it were a woman and not a man.”
I’m pretty sure I would, though. Because it wasn’t just a naked picture (which is inappropriate enough unless you’re absolutely, 100-percent sure your recipient truly wants a look at your goodies). It was a junk shot followed by continued abuse. Like a man who catcalls a woman on the street and, failing to get a response, whips out his dick in an attempt to shock her, Trevor started with idle conversation, topped it off with his naked penis, and then doused it liberally with ongoing harassment.
You don’t like?
To big for ya
I was just showing you what I got
It’s only my cock
His target remains cool, telling him simply — and repeatedly — that she objects to being thusly disrespected by a complete stranger, giving him every opportunity to simply back out and stop being disgusting. But instead, Trevor chooses to double down and progress from disgusting to openly insulting.
Your a prude
No wonder your single
I have a big cock
It’s at that point that she finally responds with aggression.
And since you’re pretty easy to find on Facebook, Trevor [redacted] shall I send Mom [redacted] screencaps of this conversation? To show how you treat women?
I think I might do it anyway since you felt the need to harass me
Why do you think it’s okay to sexually harass girls you don’t know?
I honestly think you deserve to have that uncomfortable conversation with your mother.
It is right. She should know how you perpetuate rape culture. I am sick of being treated like this.
Suddenly, Trevor attempts to backpedal all the way to “thoughtful.”
I thought you would like it
Sure you did.
In posting screencaps not just of the naked picture but of the entire conversation (to his mother and then to the Internet at large), the poster wasn’t just exposing Trevor for exposing himself — she was exposing the entire series of ongoing harassment, wherein he piled abuse upon abuse because he felt like he was in a safe place where he could do so without suffering any penalty. Well, guess what, asshole? You weren’t. You thought you could create a safe place for yourself by shocking and offending a woman into silence, but you picked the wrong one, and now it’s more than your dick that’s online.
Responses like this one, and projects like Hollaback, function to eliminate that perception of safety that allows harassers to think they can get away with harassment without penalty — and the reason they think that way is because they do get away unpunished all the time. Sending the screencaps to Trevor’s mother was a good move because it’s apparent from his response that that’s basically the only potential penalty that frightens him; posting them online sends a message to Trevor and to all the Trevors to try this shit and see where it gets you. It’s not just about one dick; it’s about all the dicks. And the penalty, in this case, perfectly fits the crime: You want unwanted exposure? You get unwanted exposure. Tell your mama Feministe says hi.