Published March 2, 2017
A 26 second video, showing a man and a woman having sex in the bathroom stall of the popular Icelandic bar Austur is making the rounds on the internet. It’s not known who filmed and uploaded it and it’s not known whether it was filmed consensually.
That is to say, we don’t know that the couple consented to being filmed while in this act which means consuming this video, watching it and sharing it, does not only make the viewer an awful fucking person but also, potentially, a criminal.
“Any person that makes public someone’s intimate or private affairs, without consent or sufficient reason to justify their actions is liable to pay fines or serve a one year prison sentence,” Deputy Regional Prosecutor, Kolbrún Benediktsdóttir told Vísir.
Even so, Kolbrún insists that incidents such as this one have to be examined on a case by case basis. There is of course a chance that this couple was kinky, knew and prompted the person in the next stall to film them and upload the video. In which case no crime was committed.
But since that information isn’t currently available we, as responsible web surfers and *decent* human beings, owe it to these people to assume they were just knocking one out in the privacy of a bathroom stall and are in fact, victims of a sex crime.
To excuse viewing the video just because it’s available for viewing is fucking calamitous and the stream of jokes on Icelandic social media at this couple’s expense are gross.
Remarks claiming that they are to blame for their plight because they chose to engage in a private act in a public place – if you can call a toilet stall a public place – is the same as saying that it’s a woman’s fault some pervert secretly filmed her taking a piss then uploaded it to the internet because she had the audacity to use a public restroom.
I don’t want to get hung up on the finer details of unspoken social contracts here, but I’m pretty sure that if women were told that it was fair game to film them taking a piss in public restrooms, women would stop using public restrooms.
Two weeks ago Icelandic psychiatrist, Óttar Guðmundsson, for some unimaginable reason, offered up his opinion that women “can’t blame anyone but themselves” for revenge porn.
People were outraged at this, rightly. Because what he said was reprehensible and frankly, illogical. Imagine if someone robbed your house and the police told you it was your own fault for owning stuff?
Even so it seems many Icelanders on social media are unable to see that when they make jokes about how this couple had it coming they are saying ostensibly the same thing that Óttar did.
Here’s what this video being made public and the resulting social media frenzy tells me.
It tells me we are always being watched and consumed by strangers. It tells me that our bodies and our sex can always be used to shame and humiliate us. It tells me, we are never safe and that is so fucking sad.