The Edge show disregard for consent
The Edge has shown complete disregard for consent, for women’s bodies and in doing so has contributed to the wider issue
of rape culture in New Zealand says specialist sexual violence prevention organisation, Sexual Abuse Prevention Network.
Yesterday, images of a number of celebrity women were released on website 4-Chan. New Zealand radio website, The Edge,
then published the photos of Hollywood Star Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence is taking legal action against the release of
her photos. After being informed of the legal implications of the post, The Edge removed the images but linked to them
on another website.
Sexual Abuse Prevention Network Coordinator, Fiona McNamara says “Our understanding is that these images were taken by
the women themselves on their own cell phones. There is nothing illegal or morally wrong about doing that – in fact a
large proportion of adults take photos like that. What actually needs to be addressed here is that those images were
stolen and distributed without the women’s consent.”
“That the Edge would link to the photos on another site after removing them from their own dismisses the real issue at
hand here – consent. Their only concern is to keep themselves out of hot water.”
The publication of the images is a crime against Jennifer Lawrence. It is also symptomatic of the wider issue of rape
culture in New Zealand society.
“Rape culture” refers to the beliefs, attitudes and cultures that normalize and trivialize sexual abuse. It contributes
to the incidence of rape, the blaming of victims and perpetuates rape myths. Society is dominated by ideas, images,
jokes and even laws that support rape culture.
“Sharing nude photos of women without their consent undermines a woman’s ownership of body as if it is a commodity that
exists for the pleasure of the general public” says McNamara.
Sexual abuse can be prevented by challenging the beliefs, attitudes and cultures that support it. Sexual Abuse
Prevention Network runs a number of programmes for young people and adults that challenge rape culture and teach people
skills to engage in alternatives to sexual violence such as safe, equal and healthy sexual relationships.