Maybe you heard, a little over a week ago more than 100 women had their intimate photos stolen, shared via the web, and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people. The incident made headlines, was debated, and now social media and the news have all but moved on. But, I can’t and here’s why. Have you ever heard of the word, fap?

To fap, apparently, is internet slang for the act of masturbation by a man. When these photos were shared by thousands via the internet, it immediately became known as “the fappening”, it even got a hashtag. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing threads in history, meaning that on an anonymous message board, users flocked to view and comment on the photos, all joining in on “the fappening”.

Ew and ahhh. Why on earth would men revel in the fact that they get to masturbate en masse to stolen photos of women?

How horrifying for those women, and what a complete missed opportunity for men and boys to step up and show a little respect. Why use it as a chance to take advantage?

I don’t care, nor should I, why these women took the photos, because it’s none of my business… they didn’t share them with me. I feel for them, their families, and their friends and send them strength and support. Some people, men and women, have spoken out and have asked others to do the same by not looking at the photos and questioning those who do Check out #imnotlooking. That’s great, we need more of that.

When men and women participate in “the fappening” or don’t say anything to reject it as a legitimate response, we justify the behavior. We justify the large scale disrespect of women.  Interesting to note, only one male photo was shared. Why is that? We know that both men and women take intimate photos of themselves. Why was there only an interest and demand for the women? We all have a role in changing that.

By having these discussions and challenging each other in constructive ways we can begin to change things. As parents of young men and young women, we often ask ourselves who we should be focusing on and what we can teach them to prevent violence and promote healthy relationships. Why don’t we start now? Start with respect.

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