Revenge porn is the sharing and distribution of sexually explicit content of individuals without their consent. The sexually explicit images or video may be made by a partner of an intimate relationship either with or without the consent of the other. The possession of the material may be used by the perpetrators to blackmail the subjects into performing other sex acts, to coerce them into continuing the relationship or to punish them for ending the relationship.

Ishmeet Nagpal has beautifully incorporated various aspects of revenge porn in her slam poetry called ‘Revenge Porn’. ‘Revenge Porn’ is a well-thought-out poem with depth and has been crystal clearly portrayed. It covers various aspects of this brutal act. Listening to it, the first thing that popped into my mind was, Why revenge porn? Honestly, I did not know about it. I was lucky enough to hear it from the poet herself.

“The reason why this idea came to me was when a video was circulated in a WhatsApp group that I was a part of. A woman was pleading her man who was threatening to release her intimate content online as she cheated on him. The man was hitting her while she was falling at his feet. What took me by surprise was how the men in the group supported the guy and were demeaning the woman. They used harsh words on the girl’s character and mentioned that she deserved it for cheating the guy. I was taken aback and this was where I thought I should research and then talk about it. This problem had to be addressed”, says the dentist cum social activist.

While the patriarchal mindset is the root cause of major issues that women face, in this case, there are other issues as well.

Understanding the difference between structured porn business and real-life intimate moments being taped and then watched on porn sites are at two ends of the spectrum. Threatening and blackmailing with such explicit content is so unbecoming and needs a boundary line.

‘Where do we cross a line, the boundary’s so fine’ is a line that captures the essence of this dilemma.

Ishmeet says, “The line needs to be drawn in our mind. We are all a part of this vicious cycle of blaming responsibilities on others. None of us wants to own up to our mistakes. When we question as to where to cross the line, the answers are numerous. We blame the woman; the woman blames the man who in turn blames the consumers: who then blames the platform and suppliers wherein the platform blames the demanders. It’s a game of passing the ball. There is a dire need for all of us to have conversations on such issues, bring awareness and only then the rule can be set. Until we talk, there are no rules, no boundaries”.

Her poem also mentions, “We are all to blame”. Reading through comments on the video, I realised men were getting defensive about how women keep blaming men. Ishmeet cleared the air by stating that ‘we’ meant everybody who watched and enjoyed such porn. “Women are also consuming such porn and all of us to be blamed for it. Revenge porn is real and we need to have conversations so that we don’t end up blaming others. For instance, parents need to openly talk to their children about such things when they hit teenage. Friends need to be supportive if someone gets trapped in such avenged leaks. Many women blame the girls involved in such leaks. The point is we are all to be blamed”, says the poet.

‘Baby, Just one picture, please? Come on, don’t be a tease’ is a line which speaks volume about the problem with this generation who feel liberated to post anything online.

Ishmeet, who also runs an NGO, says, “It’s great that women have sexual awareness and liberation. At the same time, men have also been conditioned to think that anything sexual has something to be ‘taken’ from women. If they have taken a kiss then it’s considered as an achievement unlocked. Attitudinal change is important. A lot of gender sensitization has been started in schools and many work in NGOs to bring about an awareness but this needs to happen on a larger scale. Media is a tool that can be used to sensitize gender issues”.

The poem has had a phenomenal reach and Ishmeet mentioned that about 85% of the audience did understand and appreciate such work. While there are usually a bunch of people who are against it. Now, Slam poetry has become a strong tool to pass messages across people. And the poet believes that art has been used since time immemorial to convey messages and it’s important for artists to use it efficiently. It’s entertaining as well as educating.

To all the budding artists out there, Ishmeet did say that immense research, reading and listening helps one come up a good piece which can do wonders. I’m truly inspired and hope that you are too.

Also Read: Women, just go out and report stalking. Period.

Reshma is an intern with SheThepeople.TV

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