What Happened To Jennifer Lawrence Was Sexual Assault

2 Sep

TW for talk of sexual assault, victim blaming, misogyny

You’ve probably heard about the nude photographs of Jennifer Lawrence that were leaked online yesterday. The leak also included nude pictures of Kirsten Dunst, Ariana Grande, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and several other women, but, naturally, it’s Lawrence who’s drawing most of the heat because she’s super-famous right now. She’s also known for being charmingly awkward and honestly if I had to place any bets I would guess that most people were hoping that she would respond to this with some kind of hilariously crass Real Talk about sex and her body and being naked. I keep seeing comments by people who want her to provide the punchline to this joke; what they don’t seem to understand is that this is not a joke, this is a form of sexual assault.

Jennifer Lawrence and the other women involved in this leak were photographed in the nude with their consent – however, they did not consent to having those pictures published publicly. And just to be very, very clear here because the last thing that I want is for someone to misunderstand what I’m saying: lack of consent in a sexual act – in this case sharing nude photographs against someone’s will – is what makes this sexual assault. The person or people who leaked these photographs committed a sex crime, and it should be treated as one. Anyone who chooses to look at those photographs is complicit in that crime. Unless Jennifer Lawrence has specifically given you permission to look at these specific nude pictures of her, doing so violates her privacy. It doesn’t matter that she’s famous, or that you don’t know her personally. It double doesn’t matter that she’s hot. Looking at those photographs is a violation of her person, end of sentence, full stop.

Another thing that we need to be very clear about: this leak was not Jennifer Lawrence’s fault, or the fault of anyone else whose nude pictures were shared without their consent. It did not happen because they had nude pictures stored on their phones or in iCloud. It did not happen because their passwords weren’t good enough. It was not an accident. It happened because someone decided to deliberately commit a theft of personal property. It happened because someone leaked that private personal property online. It happened because of an illegal act committed on purpose by one or several people. It did not happen because some hot famous women just weren’t careful enough.

But women can never be careful enough, can we? If we take naked pictures of ourselves, we’re asking for it. If someone can manage to hack into our accounts, we’re asking for it. If we’re not wearing anti-rape nail polish, we’re asking for it. If we don’t take self-defence classes, we’re asking for it. If we get drunk, we’re asking for it. If our skirts are too short, we’re asking for it. If we pass out at a party, we’re asking for it. If we are not hyper-vigilant every single fucking second of every single fucking day, we are asking for it. Even when we are hyper-vigilant, we’re still asking for it. The fact that we exist is asking for it.

This is what rape culture looks like.

This is what misogyny looks like.

They look like Perez Hilton posting Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photographs on his site, and then refusing to take them down because the story is “too big to ignore,” and anyway the pictures are “no big deal” and “HOT.”

They look like this dude, whose response to one of the leak victims was to tell her that he masturbated to her pictures:

ETA: @zaiger has apparently deleted his tweet, but it was in response to this:

They look like this notice on Reddit, where the nude photographs are being shared without any consequences, forbidding anyone from posting information about the people who leaked the photographs.

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 8.12.37 PM

And these are just a few small samples. If you need more evidence of how disgusting people are being, feel free to search for “Jennifer Lawrence” on twitter and take a quick gander at how many people are blaming her for being the victim of a crime, or else celebrating the fact that they have access to pictures of her that she had intended to keep private. Many people are doing both in the same fucking tweet, because that’s the world we live in. Because it’s fine to participate in a sex crime as long as you think it was the victim’s fault. Because women are just never careful enough, and they deserve whatever’s coming to them. After all, that’s the real message here, isn’t it?


105 Responses to “What Happened To Jennifer Lawrence Was Sexual Assault”

  1. athenarcarson9 September 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    “If we are not hyper-vigilant every single fucking second of every single fucking day, we are asking for it. Even when we are hyper-vigilant, we’re still asking for it. The fact that we exist is asking for it.

    This is what rape culture looks like.

    This is what misogyny looks like.”


    I was just trying to explain to my husband last night what “rape culture” is, and he got confused and started talking about how college campus sexual assault statistics are overblown.


    What? That’s a very different discussion from the one I thought we were having. But that’s okay. He means well; his enlightenment is a work in process.

  2. Risen Demon September 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    okay. let’s just set this straight right off the bat, and if anyone wants to hate me for saying this after my disclaimer, so be it. i am a guy. and a rather horny teenage male at that. so any radical feminists, go ahead and flip out on me just for being born with a dick. that said. let’s cut straight to the chase.

    shit like this, is why i hate people. am i going to say that the guys who spread these pics are innocent? hell no. fact is about 70-80% of the blame does in fact rest in them. but there’s still that 20-30% of the blame that goes to the women. and you know why? because they consented to the pictures in the first place. am i guna say that makes them a slut or things like that, no. for all i know they only intended for their significant other to see and no one else, and there’s nothing wrong with that. even if they didn’t intend for that, it still ain’t my place to judge. but. the fact remains. by consenting to pictures like that, you’re setting yourself up for them to be leaked. that’s the way it works in this fucked up world we currently live in. if you have a problem with that fact, oh well.

    • combatdavey September 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

      Okay. Let’s set this straight, right off the bat — and if anyone wants to hate me for saying this after my disclaimer (wait, did I add a disclaimer? What’s a disclaimer? And why did I include two idioms in the same sentence?), so be it.

      I am a guy, and a criminal adult male at that. So any people who enjoy having possession of their money or possessions, go ahead and flip out on me for being interested in stealing those things from you. You bunch of sissies.

      Shit like this is why I hate people. Am I going to say that the people who spread your bank account and credit card information are innocent? Hell no. Fact is about 70-80% of the blame belongs with them. But there’s still 20-30% of the blame that belongs with the people who thought their money and credit card information was safe in the first place. Am I going to say this makes them financially “slutty” or things like that? No. For all I know, they only intended for themselves and their financial institutions to see these details and no one else, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

      But the fact remains, by choosing to having a bank account, a credit card, and participating in online banking, these people are setting themselves up for their financial information to be leaked and their accounts drained. That’s the way it works in this fucked up world we currently live in. If you have a problem with that fact, cash all your cheques and hide the cash in your mattress so that I may blame you for when your home gets broken into and that cash stolen.

      • Ginger October 10, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

        Beautiful, combatdavey. 👏

    • Jlawfan September 13, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

      So just because they have nude pics of themselves other people have the right to see it? Hell no! That’s wat the article is trying to explain! If u take a pic of u naked and send it to ur girlfriend or just a girl u know and someone accidentally sees that pic is it ok to put it up on social network? Is it ok to go through ur private stuff and search for something like that? Many people, not only famous people have things on thier personal electronic devices that is not meant for others to see. Stop blaming woman for everything wrong against them. It’s not thier fault. It’s some pervert guy fault who wanted to hack (which is also a crime) to these specific woman accounts in order to steal (a crime) thier personal (invading thier right for privacy) photos! And if ur so horny go watch porn because here is the difference: woman in porn industry gave thier promison for other people to see them having sex, by a pornsite uploading thier videos. We’re all curious by nature but we still have no right to see those photos just because they are famous !

  3. Dream Menagerie September 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    Reblogged this on Imaginary Reality and commented:
    This is spot on!

  4. Karen Cummings September 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    I agree! I have heard too many media commentators saying ” what do people expect if they take intimate photos? And yet when it comes to protecting money or property – it’s a different story. Julian assange for example. And a young guy who hacked into a banks website and used info for a political campaign. Full weight of the law if you hack information from the government or a bank. Women’s rights? Well we deserve it….

  5. nicolagraham84 September 4, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    Reblogged this on nicola c graham a personal blog and commented:
    Powerfully written

  6. lauragearydunson September 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    Reblogged this on the redheaded stepchild and commented:
    Beautiful. Well said and so very true.

    • johnblacksad September 22, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

      ” Anyone who chooses to look at those photographs is complicit in that crime.”

      Really? I’m on a verge of telling the author to go fcuk herself.

      I am an accomplice of a sex crime now?!! LMFAO!

      whoa whoa… I should sue for defamation.

      I don’t blame Jennifer, I don’t blame any victim. Who would be stupid enough to do that?

      Now that I’ve professed that I don’t blame the victim, am I allowed to notice that there would be no leak of naked pictures if none were stored on the cloud? Is it such a disgusting thing to say, really?

      Jennifer is free to do anything that she wants… but unfortunately/fortunately, EVERYBODY else does too, whether we like it or not, whether it’s legal or not.

      People get raped everyday… sad cold truth.
      Let’s say it’s a sex crime indeed. Ok, so the author is right. And then what? Does she deserve a medal or something? sex crimes, although they never should, take place everyday.

      • kraye211 December 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

        Interesting that you say sex crimes should never happen, and yet you have willingly admitted to being complicit in that same sex crime. And yes, it is a sex crime. Sexual assault is a sex crime, and sharing someone’s pictures without consent is sexual assault. They happen every day, it is true, but if you really think they shouldn’t happen, why do you participate in them?

        “I don’t blame Jennifer, I don’t blame any victim. Who would be stupid enough to do that?

        Now that I’ve professed that I don’t blame the victim, am I allowed to notice that there would be no leak of naked pictures if none were stored on the cloud? Is it such a disgusting thing to say, really?”

        You claim to not blame the victim, and /literally/ in the next paragraph blame the victim. Yes everyone has choices, and they will certainly make them. But there is a reason some choices are illegal, and they ought to be punished. If someone has a TV or nice jewelry in their house and a thief breaks in a window and steals it, we never blame the homeowner for having windows through which a thief could enter. We blame the thief and punish them accordingly. People who blame her for having the pictures are blaming her for the crime, which is obviously not her fault.

        And this returns to my first point- you viewing these pictures without her consent? Would be equivalent to buying something from someone else, knowing it was stolen. You are complicit in the crime. Those pictures were JLaw’s property, and someone stole them. You looking at them without her consent violates her.

      • Ginger October 10, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

        So… are you saying that a woman who chooses to have sex with one man can be raped by other men and they aren’t committing sex crimes? I mean, she consented to having sex with one man and then another man noticed her body and decided he wanted to have a go at it too… nbd, right?

        You’re really a special kind of stupid. You are very clearly trying to justify doing something you know is wrong and should be illegal. Entitled.

  7. D.T. Nova September 5, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    I added my own thoughts about this on my blog: https://novasaber.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/crime-against-jennifer-lawrence/

    Parts that address the thoughts in some of the comments here (and it’s not like I even read the comments before posting it) are:

    Now, I wasn’t sure at first about calling it “sexual assault”; not all nude pictures are sexual and I’m not going to judge ones I haven’t seen (and I don’t want to see them; there’s hardly any shortage of nude pictures that are actually intended to be seen by the general public)…but then I thought again, and realized that the motivation for stealing them makes “sex crime” an accurate descriptor regardless of the intent of the pictures themselves.

    Telling people what they can do to protect their privacy better is all well and good, but the only people who should be blamed for an invasion of privacy are the ones who did the invading. Even if someone’s password is “1234”, that doesn’t mean they deserve to get victimized.

  8. evelynyeats September 5, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    Reblogged this on A Chain of Effects and commented:
    This is beautifully put. Everyone needs to read and think about this. The author who wrote this deserves a round of applause.

  9. resplendentjane September 6, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

    Reblogged this on resplendentjane and commented:
    Yes yes YES– A THOUSAND times YES.


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