Picture from Free Malaysia Today
On 5th October, our Partner-Director, Serene Lim spoke to BFM Radio on the recent exposure of the V2K Telegram group that disseminates and sexualizes women’s photographs without their consent.
The Telegram chat group called “V2K” is the main platform for the dissemination of violating materials, and has close to 40,000 members with 38,000 non-consensual intimate images or videos (NCII) of women (recorded as of 1st October 2020). The victims are predominantly young Malaysian women. These images/videos were either stolen from the women’s social media accounts or distributed without their consent. It is clear that these women never consented to their images to be shared and sexualized by the group. V2K group members would also request the personal information of the women i.e. phone number, social media account, or even home address. Some of these photos were also distributed as transactions, a zip file that implied that it was filled with content that violates the rights of underaged individuals–as well as the law.
Non-consensual distribution of intimate images has been happening in our community for a long time, and yet it is one of the most underreported cases because of social stigma against women and girls’ sexuality. Many victims do not feel safe coming forward to authorities (including schools and parents) or law enforcers. Victims also struggle to have their images removed by platform owners due to the non-responsiveness of platforms’ reporting mechanisms.
Currently, there are very few mechanisms in place to provide adequate remedies to the victims or to hold the perpetrators accountable. As a result, many perpetrators feel like they can get away with the offenses with little to no consequences from the law or society.