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Victim of 'Irish Sluts' Reddit page says she felt 'physically sick' when she saw her photos online

Details of where the women live and where they attend college or school were also posted on the site.

Image: Shutterstock/Burdun Iliya

A WOMAN WHOSE intimate photographs were shared on a now-deleted page on the website Reddit has described the moment she saw her image and how she felt physically ill. 

The woman, who is 21 years old and from the north Wicklow area, said that a male friend tipped her off to the Reddit page after someone shared her photograph in a WhatsApp group he was in. 

The subreddit, called Irish Sluts, featured portraits of families, social media posts, and images of women walking in public or in the gym, but there were also nude photographs taken in more intimate settings. 

Details of where some of the women live and where they attend college or school were also posted on the site. 

TheJournal.ie earlier this week reported about how the site had “grown exponentially” in recent weeks, according to their administrator. The page was shut down hours after our initial story.

ban

‘Nearly got sick’

Speaking anonymously in the wake of the shutdown, the woman said she felt violated and “nearly got sick” when she was alerted to the page. 

“I got a call from a friend of mine who said that my photo was being sent around lots of WhatsApp groups,” she told us.

“I use Instagram a lot so I was annoyed, but I wasn’t really surprised that someone could get the pictures. But when he sent me it, it was a photo I definitely had not put on Instagram. It wasn’t like, fully nude or anything like that, but it was a photo I didn’t want everyone to see.”

“But then I went and I clicked into it [the page] and the first thing I saw was [another] woman’s nude photograph,” she continued. “It had her face on it and the caption was like ‘last night’s Tinder date’ and there were men commenting on her face and her body. My picture wasn’t like that but it wasn’t really one I wanted people to see.”

“Mine had a few comments on it, calling me a slut and a whore and that I’d like anal sex and that I’m from [the area that she is from]. I honestly nearly got sick. It was just disgusting. I wanted the world to swallow me up. I started thinking if my dad was going to see it and if I could go back to work if people saw it.

“For me it’s just a big violation of my privacy. I didn’t really sleep for days when I found out about what was happening. I got in touch with everyone who might have had access to the photo as well but I didn’t really get anywhere.” 

I contacted the guards and Reddit and a few other people about my rights. I was a bit put out that there was no way into it for me other than to go to Reddit.

Though she was shocked to see her own image on the subreddit, the woman said the photo – and the comments below it – were tame compared to other images she saw on the page.

She added: “Some things they were saying were about families and that someone’s mother was good at certain sexual things. There was actually someone looking for naked pictures of girls from his town. It’s scary to think that there are young guys around you who are just looking for naked photographs of you.”

Legal protection

Currently, the only law protecting against the distribution of these images without permission is contained in the Non Fatal Offences Against The Person Act. There is a subsection of this act which deals with harassment. However, there are no specific laws in place to guard against this type of online incident.

Last year, Labour leader Brendan Howlin said that Ireland is lagging when it comes to dealing with the issue of ‘revenge porn’.

The Wexford TD said Irish laws covering so-called revenge porn – the posting of sexually explicit images of a person online without their consent, generally by a former partner or date – are not adequate, which is why his party is bringing forward its own Bill to tackle the issue.

The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill would provide for a six-month prison sentence upon conviction. It is still before the Oireachtas.

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