By Ashley Frisch
It was recently revealed that nude photos of female marines were being shared on a malicious Facebook group entitled Marines United that supports and encourages sexual harassment against female marines. The Facebook group’s members are made up of roughly 30,000 active duty Marines, Marine Corp Veterans and British Royal Marines. The members of the group used the social media platform to participate in exchanging nude and private photos of female coworkers through the website. A spokesman for the marines, Maj. Clark Carpenter, has confirmed that the U.S. Marine Corps is conducting an investigation into the allegations.
A Marine veteran and defense contractor first posted the photos of the women online in January, with a link that contained the names and units alongside the photos of the women. The detailed information contained in the photos of some of the female marines resulted in them being subjected to harassment, not just online where the photos were posted, but also in their workplace by male colleagues. The U.S. Marine Corps has since ceased their employment relationship with the contractor that posted the photos.
Women were notified that their photos were posted online through being sent compromising photos of themselves from friends and colleagues or being told on social media from concerned friends. They discovered screenshots of nude photos of themselves had been posted online, and that strangers were leaving rude, vulgar, and sexually aggressive comments on the photos. Female marines have since reported that sexual harassment in the U.S. Marine Corps runs deeper than this single social media group and they are frequently subjected to sexual harassment, with harassment being especially prevalent in the lower enlisted ranks.
In a document detailing the allegations and initial investigation, the Marines Corps has stated, “The Marine Corps does not condone this sort of behavior, which undermines our core values.” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller stated in a Senate hearing on March 14, 2017, that the Marine Corps is going to take action against the perpetrators of the sexual harassment and that the Marine Corps policies will be revised to create direct consequences for any future posting of nude or private photos. It has been reported that similar websites with military members from all branches are also currently being investigated for potential distribution of nude and private photos as well.
It’s important to remember that if you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel that your privacy or personal property, such as private photos, has been compromised that you have rights and don’t have to accept being treated in a manner that makes you feel uncomfortable or objectified. Personal photos should never be shared without your permission and your privacy should never be infringed upon. If you have found yourself in a similar situation, please give us a call today for a free consultation.