Humiliating one's ex-partner online: are men the only ones to do it?

Massimo Melica is a lawyer in Milan specialized in ICT law. Today Massimo posted on Facebook, as he does periodically, a great piece he wrote against online violence on women (Italian only, sorry).

The reactions on Facebook, still coming while I write, seem so far to discuss almost exclusively (I only refer to the number of related comments) if, how much, when and how the concept that “whoever got in troubles for placing online his or her private pictures deserves it”.

Massimo immediately pointed out (my sinthesis) that very often, offending pictures or video clips are NOT published by the person who, later on, reports damages to his or her reputation or worst (1). The reality is that these people often agree to the wishes of their PARTNERS, who want to take naked or otherwise sensitive pictures and promise that “nobody will ever see them”, but then are those PARTNERS who, when the relationship ends, for revenge or whatever reason, publish everything online".

Apart from this, Massimo also mentioned another side of the issue that I find extremely important. Surely it’s nothing new, but I confess that I had never looked at it in detail before today, and in any case the more awareness there is about this the better. Therefore, with Massimo’s authorization, I’m publishing his comment here, hoping to stimulate as much discussion as possible about this and to get pointers to relevant information (2).

Massimo: I have never, and I repeat NEVER, come across a girl that published online pictures of her ex partner, maybe drunk or in other ridiculous poses. I believe that respect for others is an intrinsic characteristic of female nature… could it be maternal instinct? I am not a psychologist, so please be adequately merciful when commenting these thoughts of mine.

Personally I (Marco) think there’s no doubt that men commit much more of this particular kind of abuses than women. It’s one of the proofs that (not always, but quite often) many women are smarter and more mature than many men. However, until now I had never asked myself if men are actually the only ones to engage in certain practices, nor had I heard about it. Theoretically, an explanation to what Massimo said may be that girls too publish online intimate or ridiculous pictures of their ex boyfriends, but they either ignore them or show them off to their friends instead of calling a lawyer (the world is a strange place…)

So is this how things stand? If yes, which conclusion should we draw? Thanks to Massimo for rising (again) the issue, and thanks in advance to whoever will give feedback and/or add relevant links here (not everybody has a Facebook account…)

  1. For the record, Massimo also remembered that here in Italy, when such cases go to trial, the offender does get a sentence (even when he didn’t mean harm but was just stupid or careless) and that 18-year old boys end up with a criminal record and sanctions around 100 thousand Euros for this kind of stunts. What about other countries? Please tell!

  2. one of the things I hope to learn from this post is: if what Massimo says is true in Italy, what about other countries? Which ones are in the same situation, and which ones are not?