Creepshots and upskirting are proving difficult to criminalize
For too long, “creepshots” have been a porn sensation. These are pictures of women taken in public, without their consent, by disgusting strangers who most likely masturbate on the subway underneath their trench coats. They’ll sneak a photo of a woman in the bathroom, in the changing room, or anywhere she dares to wear a dress.
The most notorious creepshot is called an “upskirt.” To take an upskirting photo: stalk a woman, slyly slide your phone between her legs, and snap a picture or record a video of her crotch. Then, proceed to post to a social media forum or Porn tube site where rape-y dudes congregate to share their spoils.
Social media companies like Tumblr and Reddit have tried to crack down on this disgusting content, only to find it to pop up on sites like PornHub or xHamster.
The battle to ban upskirting has been long and exhausting. In the United States, upskirting is not a federal crime, and only a handful of states have made it illegal. For years, laws have been passed on a state-by-state basis, only after women are violated and take their cases to court.
But this week, anger boiled over all around the world.
Last weekend, tens of thousands of women in South Korea protested in the streets against the country’s rampant hidden camera problem. This week, the United Kingdom drafted a bill to make upskirting a sexual offense. Then, one lawmaker blocked it.
Just before the bill looked set to become law, 71-year-old Sir Christopher Chope ended debate without offering any reason. The 26-year-old woman who had campaigned to create the law was devastated.
Her name is Gina Martin, and she was upskirted at a concert in London in 2017. She wanted police to prosecute the man who snapped the pictures, but they refused, saying the images were not obscene enough because she was wearing underwear.
Citizens are firing back at the UK lawmaker by hanging pairs of panties outside his office. Chope was the only person in the House of Commons to object to the bill, but that was enough to block it.
The law would make upskirting punishable by up to two years in prison, and violators would be placed on a sex offender registry. Despite this week’s roadblock, the bill still has the rest of the government’s support, and is expected to be debated again on July 6.