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WhatsApp Sex Tape in Brazil Prompts Internet Meme Blaming Victim

Fran, a 19-year-old university student, is having oral sex with her 22-year-old partner in the city of Goiânia. She allows him to film her with his camera phone, asking him in the middle of the act, “Do you want my tight little asshole?”, giving the go-ahead in allusion to anal sex. A few days later, he shares the video through the application WhatsApp, “a repository of involuntary pornography” [pt], where intimate moments between couples have spread indiscriminately to phones throughout Brazil.

It has spawned a debate surrounding the moralistic, sexist and hypocritical judgements which have flooded the Internet in recent days. On Twitter and Instagram, hundreds of people have posted photos with the “OK” hand sign and the hashtag #ForçaFran (KeepGoingFran), which has become a meme. Some of them have done this as a mark of solidarity; others in a clear attempt at mocking the girl, as Manu Barem (@manubarem), editor of the site Youpix [pt], explains:

Image taken from the Facebook page “Força Fran

Image taken from the Facebook page “Força Fran”

Basta uma vasculhada nas postagens da tag #forcafran para você perceber que a maioria delas, principalmente as publicadas por mulheres, revelam um quê de “como ela foi burra e eu não sou”. (Até o dia em que você confiar num babaca ou ter suas imagens roubadas, né amiga?).

Assim, registramos um estágio novo e triste dos desdobramentos de um crime online – o machismo dominando até as iniciativas solidárias.

You just need to take a look at the #forcafran tagged posts to realise that the majority of them, mainly those published by women, have a hint of “how stupid she was and how I am not”. (Until the day you trust a jerk or have your own photos stolen, right my friend?)

So we are observing a new and sad development in the consequences of online crime- sexism dominating even solidarity iniciatives.

Even Brazilian footballers Neymar and Daniel Alves, who play for Spanish club Barcelona, and well-known singer Leonardo [formerly half of one of the most popular country and western duos in the country], have posted photos of themselves making the OK sign on the Internet, as attested by a local Goiânia broadcaster. On 12 October, during a friendly between Brazil and South Korea, fans carried signs with the phrase “Força Fran”. The image also circulated online, demonstrating the impact of the case.

After so much exposure, Fran left the shop where she worked and filed a complaint against the boy with the Police Special Delegation of Assistance to Women in Goiânia. The man may be given a sentence of three months to one year in prison for defamation if it falls under the Maria da Penha Law, which punishes those who practice domestic violence towards women. However, he refuses to hand up his phone to police and remained silent during the interrogation. He still denies having been the creator of the videos. 

Besides the photos and messages filled with the letters “KKKK” [pt], meaning ‘LOL’ or ‘laugh out loud', commonly used in Brazil, the netizens also made use of the web to give their opinions on the matter. On Twitter, there were comments like these:

I dream of the day when the man who leaks the video will be called the moron and the woman will be recognised as a victim, not a whore #forcafran

#forçafran what the hell. Who told her to be so stupid as to allow the man to film her while she was sucking him off.. She should have known that it would spread.

The one in the wrong is the guy who released the photos and videos. He needs to go fuck himself to learn how to become a man! #forcafran

In support of Fran, journalist Nathalia Ziemkiewicz from the site Na Pimentaria [pt] wrote:

Lamento muito por todos os comentários grotescos e ofensivos que têm circulado na internet. Eles foram feitos pelas mesmas pessoas que acreditam que, se estava de saia curta na rua, pediu para ser estuprada. Tipo: não queria ser exposta, então não deveria ter se deixado filmar. É uma lógica machista que inverte os valores. Você é puta – e não o cara, um mau-caráter. Querida, nossa sociedade está mergulhada nos próprios pudores. Não há nada de errado no que você fez. A cretinice da história toda pertence somente àquele(a) que primeiro repassou o vídeo de um celular privado para uma rede infinitamente invisível.

I am sad to see all the grotesque and offensive comments that have been circulating on the Internet. They were made by the same people who believe that if you go into the street in a short skirt, you are asking to be raped. Like: if you didn't want to be exposed, you shouldn't have allowed yourself to be filmed. It’s chauvinistic logic which reverses the blame. You are the slut – and not the man, the bad guy. Honey, our society is steeped in our own prudishness. There was nothing wrong with what you did. The idiocy of the whole story goes back to the first person who forwarded the video from a private mobile phone to an infinitely invisible network.

Support Fran ForçaFran

Image from the Facebook page Apoio Fran. “Because we are all Fran, against sexism as a form of comedy and sex as a taboo.”

The page Apoio Fran (I Support Fran) was created on Facebook and already has more than 30,000 likes. On YouTube, Andrea Benetti, one of the founders of another Facebook page, Moça, você é machista (Girl, you're a sexist), spoke about the case. For Benetti, the incident portrays how society still judges a woman for her behaviour during sex:

(tem o) caráter definido a partir do que ela faz na cama, como se ela perdesse o valor…ou não valesse nada, (porque) alguém viu e tem certeza do que ela faz na cama

(she has her) character defined by what she does in bed, as though she has lost her value…or is not worth anything, (because) someone saw and is sure of what she does in bed



Blogger and writer Nádia Lapa also reflected on this matter on her blog Feminismo pra quê (Feminism for what) [pt] hosted on the website of the magazine CartaCapital:

Fran fez sexo. Coisa que a maioria de nós já fez, já quis fazer, ou continua querendo e fazendo. Qual o grande pecado dela? Sim, fazer sexo, ter desejo e expressá-lo. Simone de Beauvoir fala sobre como a sociedade encara a sexualidade feminina: “a civilização patriarcal condena a mulher à castidade; reconhece-se mais ou menos abertamente ao homem o direito a satisfazer seus desejos sexuais, ao passo que a mulher é confinada ao casamento: para ela, o ato carnal, em não sendo santificado pelo código, pelo sacramento, é falta, queda, derrota, fraqueza. Ela tem o dever de defender sua virtude, sua honra; se “cede”, se “cai”, suscita o desprezo; ao passo que até na censura que se inflige ao seu vencedor há admiração”.

Fran had sex. Something that most of us have already done, already wanted to do, or continue to want and do. What is her great sin? Yes, having sex, having desire and expressing herself. Simone de Beauvoir speaks about how society views female sexuality: “the patriarchal society condemns the women to chastity; it quite openly recognises the right of the man to satisfy his sexual desires, while the woman is confined to marriage: for her, the carnal act, not being sanctified by the code, by the sacrament, is a fault, a downfall, a defeat, a weakness. She has a duty to defend her virtue, her honour; if she ‘yields', if she ‘falls', she provokes scorn; while even in the censorship inflicted on her victor there is admiration”.

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