د . إAEDSRر . س

Malta’s Sex Video Leaks: Just A Big Joke?

Article Featured Image

The whole matter of women’s rights is barely a footnote in our legal system, and we now have official confirmation. Only two people have been found guilty of leaking revenge porn in the last five years. 

Out of the 20 reports filed across four years, the overwhelming majority of suspected perpetrators got off scot-free. 

No wonder an entire football team of losers felt entitled to stream a woman’s private video on a large-screen restaurant TV without her consent.

The entire sordid story does reveal one thing. The problem lies not just with our legal system. It is far more insidious, in fact, and is tied to a culture of misogyny that – far from being censured –  is actively encouraged by a disconcerting number of people of all genders.

We don’t seem to have made much progress in terms of treating women like actual human beings because a significant sector of the population seems to be stuck with the psychology of a pre-pubescent lad raised on iffy Benny Hill sketches. 

Consider this. A group of what, to all intents and purposes are adult men sit down at a public restaurant. They somehow get their hands on a woman’s intimate video. Their instant reaction? Let’s stream it across an entire restaurant. Għall-buzz. 

Like it’s all some grand joke.

This behaviour points towards something that goes beyond the illegality of the act itself, indicating a pattern that – in any mature and civilized society – would be cause for much deeper concern.

Because let’s call it for what it is. What these men did shows a disturbing inability to grasp basic human empathy.

This group of supposedly well-adjusted men sat and laughed at the public humiliation of a woman who had done absolutely nothing to deserve it.

Some people might describe such behaviour as sadistic. Sociopathic, even.

In Malta, instead, we get a four-hour social media storm and then everyone goes back to being comfortable and forgetting all about it.

Maybe it’s time we face some uncomfortable truths. That such behaviour stems from Malta’s painfully inadequate education and socialisation system.

We live in a country where sex is still largely viewed as shameful, or comedic, or else as a power trip. Rather than as the pretty unremarkable adult activity that it is.

Where women who dress in a certain way are asking for it.

Where the court of public opinion excuses men who knife their partners because she probably provoked him.

Where the judge describes a 12-year-old girl who has been raped by a 45-year-old as having a “lax attitude to sex” as she “had already been deflowered”.

Until the entire system changes from its very roots, we have precious little hope of eradicating inexcusable happenings like this ‘incident’ in a restaurant in Gzira. 

On the contrary, we have every chance of them getting worse.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Who am I with my unpopular opinions to tell you that the way our society functions is wrong? Only this isn’t my opinion. It’s an undeniable fact, corroborated by… pretty much everyone else in the civilized world.

Such as the Council of Europe’s group of experts on domestic violence, GREVIO, which had this to say about Malta’s approach to domestic abuse: “police officers who routinely receive reports or respond to callouts, are not trained on the dynamics of domestic violence, nor on the gendered aspect of such violence, its risk factors and the need to ensure victim protection.”

Or how about this equally shocking statement: “Similarly, GREVIO noted the little sensitivity of judges, leading to repeat victimisation and low levels of prosecutions and convictions. Judges appear to have an inadequate understanding of the change in paradigm in proving rape.”

By the way, we’re not talking about the 80s here; this was reported last November.

Back to our group of losers. What these men did is only the first rung in the ladder of systemic misogyny, where women are stripped of their rights and treated purely as a source of entertainment.

This is what happens when female rights aren’t something that are taken terribly seriously in the first place.

Just consider the list of ever-growing, ever-increasing signs.

On 6th February, a convicted abuser who threatened his wife that he “would make her disappear” is granted bail after pleading not guilty to domestic violence charges. 

On 5th February, a man with a history of violence breaks a court order to harass, threaten and even assault the mother of his children.

On 26th January, a woman is harassed and groped by a man on the streets of Valletta.

On 30th August, a woman is badly beaten by man while sunbathing in Valletta.

These are just four cases from recent months. If I keep going back, I’d never finish writing this piece. This is without taking into account the numerous cases that go unreported. Because the system doesn’t exactly make it easy for women to come forward with these claims. 

But here’s one statistic that we cannot allow ourselves to forget. The number of women who have been murdered because of their gender since 2000? Thirty-seven. Of these, 26 were killed by a partner or family member, according to statistics gathered by the Women’s Right Foundation.

Meantime, the group of losers who willfully decided to destroy a young woman’s happiness, remain serene and unchecked. 

Maybe the men will be arraigned, eventually. Maybe they will even receive a paltry fine that will do nothing to assuage the undeserved humiliation suffered by this young woman.

But until an entire community of people is united in a single, unequivocal message that this is not on – with no ifs, buts and she shouldn’t have taken that video –  then women will continue to be treated like chattel, there to be raped or knife when they get a bit tiresome. 

This is the first article from a collaboration between Lovin Malta and Ramona Depares. She’s a writer who enjoys breaking down the walls of the patriarchy with a keyboard and a smile. And the occasional glass of wine. Check out her arts & lifestyle blog on www.ramonadepares.com.

Lovin’ Malta is currently conducting research on the incidence of sexual harassment and gender violence in Malta. Watch this space. 

Lovin Malta is open to external contributions that are well written and thought-provoking. If you would like your commentary to be featured as a guest post, please write to [email protected], add Guest Post in the subject line and attach a profile photo for us to use near your byline. 

READ NEXT: GUEST POST: I Fostered A Child In Malta And This Is How It Went

You may also love

View All

lovinmalta.com says

Do you agree to share your location with us?