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Sherrie Hewson, a TV presenter in the UK, recently revealed that after signing up for an online dating website she received an unexpected and unsolicited full-frontal image of her correspondent’s genitals.
It’s essentially cyber-flashing, the real world’s online equivalent, and should be treated as seriously.
What would possess someone to send a graphic image of themselves without ever being asked for one, or even thinking to check if it might be appreciated?
When it comes to the internet, it seems common sense to think that the physical distance and anonymity the online world provides allows, even encourages, people to do things they wouldn’t normally do “in real life”.
Put simply, if an online suitor can send an image of a disembodied penis to someone they don’t have to face, they are much more likely to do so than, for example, exposing themselves in public with all the social and legal consequences that might bring.
But this doesn’t explain the underlying motivations to send such images on a dating site.
Violent threats, hostile outbursts and being blackmailed into sending explicit images, are just some examples of the potential fall-out a woman might face – even for just ignoring or rebuffing a would-be suitor.