Viral MMS Videos: When Women’s Bodies Are Subjected To Mass Online Abuse

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Trisha Kar Madhu MMS video: Last week, two Bhojpuri actors had their intimate videos leaked online, leading to a social media uproar. The outrage was however, not against perpetrators who violated these women’s privacy, but the two actors themselves. This is the price you pay in modern India as a woman, when you explore your sexuality, film it, or let your intimate encounters be filmed voluntarily, and somehow the “MMS” makes it to the digital world? No one cares about your consent or lack of it? You’ll not only be shamed for your sexual needs, people will then proceed to take your consent for granted and spread the clip.

Last week, actor Trisha Kar Madhu made headlines when a video that allegedly showed her sharing intimate moments with her boyfriend went viral. While Madhu said that she had shot the video in question, it was put up online without her consent. She further went on to request people to delete the video and not forward it to others if they ever receive it. It was this bit from the whole episode that held my attention. Here’s a woman telling people to delete a video featuring her in a compromising position. She is telling everyone that it was shared without her consent and asking people to not forward it. But how many social media users paid heed to her plea?

While MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service, over the years the word has become slang for videos clips of pornographic nature that get circulated widely.

The answer to that question tells you all you need to know about the understanding of consent in our country. In a society where women are held accountable for their own safety from even heinous sexual crimes, such transgressions are not even considered a violation of woman’s dignity, privacy or body. The society too turns a blind eye at those who share such MMS clips “just for some fun”. Ladke hai, bas masti kar rahe hain, it’ll argue. Besides, why did Madhu or Priyanka Pandit, the other Bhojpuri actor whose video clip went viral, even shoot their sexual escapades? Is this how “decent Indian women” behave?

Guess what? How women behave in their bedrooms, what they do with their partners, or record is no one’s business. If they have consented to a sexual act or filming of it, that doesn’t mean that they are okay with it being shared with the world. Let us say it our loud and clear again- consenting to filming a sexual act is different from consenting to publication or sharing of a filmed sexual act. Sharing an MMS clip of a person, irrespective of their gender or sexuality, without their consent is wrong, it’s digital abuse.

We all need to understand that consent has many facets, despite being a simple matter of saying yes or no. It needs to be sought actively before any sexual encounter- physical or virtual. However, consent isn’t limited to direct sexual encounters between two (or more) people. Viewing a nude photo of a person, sharing it, or circulating a sex-clip without knowledge of people filmed in it, or despite their clear request to not do so is also a grievous violation of consent.

Trisha Kar Madhu viral video case is the perfect example of how we are far from being on the same page when it comes to understanding consent. We have a long way to go, but talking about it is the only way to commence this journey for sure.

Views expressed are the author’s own.

Suggested Reading:

Why Do Private Images, Videos Of Women Go Viral?

Five Things To Learn From Trisha Kar Madhu’s Private Video Leak

Who Is Priyanka Pandit? Private Videos Of Another Bhojpuri Actor Go Viral