At this point, I’m sure you’ve heard about the hackers who have been leaking private, intimate photos of celebrities to the public non-consensually. It’s been happening for years, but recently, there’s been an influx of said instances.

For some reason, a lot of people’s first instinct is to blame the victim, who in this situation is the person in the pictures. If it’s a woman whose photos have been leaked, a lot of people will say things such as “Well she should know better than to take inappropriate photos like that in the first place” or “she’s a celebrity, it’s the price you pay for fame!”

Why is it that people love blaming the victim rather than the person who is actually in the wrong, in this case, the hacker? Instead of telling women not to be provocative or intimate, why don’t we advise against invading people’s privacy? Why don’t we stop examining women’s bodies in the photos and start condemning the individuals who spread the photos in the first place?

The media tends to make things even worse. Instead of publishing articles that put the hackers at fault, they end up further exploiting those who have already been humiliated enough. In addition to having their privacy violated, they are having their bodies assessed by nearly everyone with internet access. Being a celebrity does not mean that you have to be subjected to this kind of ordeal because “it’s what you signed up for”. No, what they signed up for was to create art and entertain people, not to have every inch of their body publicly scrutinized.

You are also at fault if you share the photos, you are excusing the disgusting behavior and saying it’s okay that this is happening to these women, as long as it brings you pleasure and a good laugh. It’s cruel and appalling, and you should not share or engage with these photos if you come across them.

Another sad thing is, even women who post provocative photos of themselves consensually get shamed. What’s so bad about loving your body and being confident enough to post a “sexy” picture? A woman can make a decision she feels fine with, and people will still bombard her with insults rather than uplifting compliments, which is sickening.

It’s time people face the facts: women can be sexual beings, just as men. These double standards are abhorrent. If you personally don’t like being provocative or sexual that’s okay. But that doesn’t give you the right to shame women who do.