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Mail Magazine Vol. 140: Recent Consultation Situation Related to AV, and the Particularity of ‘Digital Sexual Violence’

First, we would like to appreciate for your continued interest in and support for the activities of PAPS.

In this article, we will be talking about the recent AV-related consultation situation and the characteristics of “Digital Sexual Violence” from the side of view of PAPS.

Regarding AV consultations received at PAPS

While the number of consultations on sextortion, which has increased rapidly over the past year or two, is as high as ever, with 236 consultations already received this year (as of 4/20), consultations on AV are also continuing to come in, with 33 received since the beginning of this year, and 11 in April alone (as of April 20th). It means that there are definitely people who are having problems with their relationships to pornography.

Some may say that they do not have “no choice,” “no other options,” or “under duress,” but rather that they “like being in porn.

However, it is an undeniable fact that there is even one person who comes to us for advice regarding AV performance, and we have been working together with them on what we can do to help them with their problems, and we continue to do so with the hope of doing so in the future.

"Digital Sexual Violence” has different characteristics from other forms of sexual violence.

The special characteristic of sexual images is that, although they are a picture of one's ultimate privacy, as soon as the images leave one's hands and are in the hands of another person, the freedom of “sexual consent” disappears, and the other person can treat them as he or she pleases, without any way to express their will or to resist. Digital sexual abuse is when a person loses control over the spread of photos and videos of his or her own will, even though it is about his or her own body.

The overwhelming majority of the AV consultations we receive are from people who want to delete the intimite photos of themselves and videos because they are (or are about to be) in trouble because they have been (or are about to be) exposed. For those who are victims of digital sexual abuse, the fact that their sexual pictures are being spread and consumed in places they do not consent to is “the most troubling thing right now.

Two important points that distinguish Digital Sexual Violence from other forms of sexual violence are as follows.

(1) The damage can be reproduced endlessly on the Internet.

For example, suppose someone asks you for a sexual picture of yourself and you send it to them.

If the person who received the photos likes the photos, but does not agree to send them, there is no sexual consent (Violence 1).

The person who received the photos can look at them whenever he/she wants without his/her consent (Violation 2).

If the photos are spread around or posted on the Internet, they can be viewed by others “without their consent” (Violence 3).

Thus, when sexual photos are given to other people without their consent, you will continue to be a victim of multiple layers of violence, which will be repeated as long as the photos remain on the Internet.

(2) It is difficult to consult with someone because you have to show them sexual images of yourself

When we have a problem, we may consult with someone. We may consult with trusted friends, family members, professional organizations, or the police. However, in the case of digital sexual abuse, we may need to show sexual images of ourselves to the person we consult with. This can be a major obstacle, making it difficult to seek advice.

(3) By giving voice to the person, you may be searched.

In the case of pornography, it is easy to access the images by entering the name of the actress or keywords. Because of this, even if you are a victim or have a problem, it may be difficult to speak up or talk to someone about it.

For these reasons, we believe that “Digital Sexual Violence” is a particularly difficult victimization and problem to disclose.

Last year, we've received a total of 1,867 consultations, and we can only imagine how many of those 1,867 people must have felt, and how much courage they must have had to contact us.

We would like to express our gratitude to each and every one of our clients for their SOS and would like to be there for each and every one of their problems.

A great thing that happened recently

This is the case of a consultant who decided and applied to perform in adult films for her interest in the industry and to make a living. She contacted us just before the shoot because she was worried that the remuneration was not worth the risk of appearing in adult films, and she was not sure what to do.

We told her that the industry would only insist on the possibility of success without any damage, that no third party would live your life for you, and that it was therefore OK to make your own decision without any hesitation on their part. A few days later, she contacted us again and told us that she was able to decline to appear. We were very happy that the consultant was able to make the decision of her own will. (Consultant A at PAPS)

Donation Requests

I believe that PAPS is the only organization in Japan that specializes in providing consultations on “Digital Sexual Violence." The number of consultations is increasing steadily. We believe that we need to continue to operate the consultation service as long as there are consultations so that the victims who find it difficult to talk to us or voice their concerns do not become isolated. To this end, your warm support is indispensable. Please help us spread the word about this issue, and at the same time, please support us with your donations.

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