Tuesday October 23, 2018
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Eyes behind the mirror: The rising menace of voyeurism

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By Nithin Sridhar

A woman and her five year old son found a hidden camera in the washroom of a Starbucks outlet in Lancaster, USA according to media reports.

The five year old boy was the first to find the phone hidden beneath the sink and pointing towards the toilets. When the Sheriff’s department rushed to the site, they discovered that the cell phone was recording video.

This incident adds to the ever rising cases of Voyeurism across the globe.

In March, a man in Winnipeg in Canada, was accused of secretly videotaping up to 21 victims that included his family and friends. The videos were taken from tiny pen cameras, which he had hidden in bathrooms.

Last year, Barry Freundela, prominent Rabbi in US was arrested on charges that he secretly videotaped women. A CCTV operator in UK has been convicted of spying on a woman using police cameras.

In April, Smriti Irani, India’s HRD minister, found a CCTV camera pointing towards a changing room in one of the Fabindia outlets in Goa. In May, CBI busted a racket, in which they recovered around 500 clips showing women and children in compromising positions.

Voyeurism as a social problem

These frequent reportings of various incidents of Voyeurism indicate two things. One, that there is a rise in such cases and two, that the number of people reporting such cases has increased as well.

Oxford dictionary defines Voyeurism as “the practice of getting pleasure by secretly watching people who are naked or having sex”.

With the advancement of technology and the internet, peeping into other’s personal life has become easier. In a 2013 story, DailyMail reports how hackers had installed a software in the victims PC and had used it to film their activities. Many women become victims to such sexual predators who sometimes even upload these videos to some pornographic sites or sell them.

A 2002 Consultation paper quotes that most voyeurs also involve other forms of sexually deviant behaviors and approximately 20% of voyeurs have committed sexual assault or rape. It further states that in almost all the cases, the perpetrators are men and the victims are women and children.

It quotes a study of 411 men, wherein 62 men admitted to being voyeurs and self-reported 29,090 voyeuristic acts against 26,648 victims. This clearly shows how widespread is the voyeuristic tendencies among men.

Voyeurism at its core is nothing but objectification of women. The media with its portrayal of women in magazines and TV programs, the big corporate with its portrayal of women in various ads have completely objectified the discourse on women.

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According to this report prepared for Kaiser Family Foundation: “Sexual messages in the mass media can have both immediate and long-term effects.Viewing a television program may change a  person’s immediate state by inducing arousal, leading to inhibition of impulses, or activating  thoughts or associations. It may also contribute to enduring learned patterns of behavior, cognitive  scripts and schema about sexual interactions, attitudes, and beliefs about the real world.

Therefore, a negative portrayal of women increases negative perception about women. These rising incidents of voyeurism are some of the best examples that show that there is an increase in the perception of women as objects and sexual toys.

This objectification of women is the root cause of majority of crimes that are committed against women. Hence, voyeurism may also lead to cases of stalking and assault. A person who can spy and record woman will not hesitate before assaulting one. Further, there is issue of privacy and security as well.

How would any woman feel safe inside her home, if she realizes that someone is continuously watching her activities? If a woman cannot bath freely without any inhibition due to fear of being watched, then it is a clear violation of basic human rights: the right to life, liberty and security.

Also, if the perpetrators of voyeuristic actions are not restrained and punished, it will further lead to other crimes against women like stalking and rape. Therefore, voyeurism is a clear social menace and a serious crime.

Voyeurism as medical condition:

Voyeurism as a behavioral pattern, if it persists in a person for some length of time can be considered as a case of “paraphilia”. Paraphilia refers to sexual perversion, wherein the person experiences sexual arousal to atypical objects, situations or individuals. It includes behaviors like Pedophilia, Fetishism, and Exhibitionism. In the case of Voyeurism, the arousal is obtained by stealthily watching others.

The medical condition of voyeurism is treated using multiple treatments like behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy and psychoanalysis. The behavioral therapy is the most commonly adopted treatment, where in the patient tries to learn control over his desires and fetishes and tries to overcome them.

Self-Control as a preventive measure:

The Kaiser Family Foundation report quotes that voyeurism as a sexual disorder manifests early in life, the average age being 15 years. The behaviors of voyeurism may be trigger due to various reasons, including childhood abuse or family dysfunction. In other words, a traumatic childhood may trigger voyeurism in some people.

Therefore, providing proper environment to children, wherein they learn to understand their own emotions, and desires and to control them, may prove as one of the preventive mechanisms against voyeuristic behavior.

Further, the root of most of these sexually perverse behavior conditions lies in the fact that these people cannot control their desires and internal impulses. In fact, many may not even recognize their behaviors as perverse or deviant. Therefore, a lack of self-control and sense of right and wrong results in committing voyeuristic actions without a care for the victim’s well-being by these people.

To counter this, teaching children to monitor and control their desires and behaviors may go a long way in helping to curb voyeurism. It must be remembered that not all voyeuristic actions can be considered as a medical condition. Some people may indulge in such actions out of money or other considerations as well. Hence, making children equipped to differentiate right from wrong, good from bad and useful from harmful will prove efficient in curbing voyeuristic crimes.

Safeguarding oneself against voyeurism

As voyeurism is increasingly rising throughout the world, it becomes important for people, especially women to safeguard themselves against voyeurs. Women should always be cautious, whether at home or outside. Outside, they must be extra cautious about their belongings. Some of the safeguards that can be taken are:

  1. If one is in a changing room of a shop, one should check for any peep holes or hidden cameras. One should try to make a call to someone from inside. If there is a hidden camera, the call won’t connect due to signal interference.
  2. One must check whether the mirror in the changing room is normal mirror or two-way mirror. This can be done by touching the mirror with the finger. If there is a small gap between the finger and the image, then nothing to worry. If not, then it’s a two-way mirror.
  3. While using internet, one should make sure to not click on any unknown and suspicious links.
  4. One should frequently run scans for virus, spywares, and key loggers. One should also format the computer occasionally.
  5. One should keep the curtains drawn and if necessary windows closed of the bedrooms and bathrooms.
  6. One should be cautious while choosing hotel rooms and should check the room thoroughly after checking in.
  7. One should avoid making intimate videos with spouses or partners, as this may lead to them being hacked and leaked.
  8. One should be cautious with the photos that are uploaded to the social networking sites.

These simple measures may go a long way in preventing women from falling into the trap of voyeurs and stalkers.

 

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The Truth About The Killing Of Khashoggi Will Be Revealed By The Turkish President

Amnesty International called on Saudi Arabia to "immediately produce" Khashoggi's body so an autopsy can be performed.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, delivers a speech at supporters in Istanbul. VOA

Saudi Arabia says Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke Monday by telephone with the son of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi to express condolences for the killing.

Khashoggi died after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is vowing to reveal details about the case in a Tuesday speech to his parliament.

He told an Istanbul rally Sunday, “We are looking for justice here and this will be revealed in all its naked truth, not through some ordinary steps.”

Erdogan spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump by telephone Sunday. Turkey’s state-run news agency said both leaders agree the Khashoggi case needs to be “cleared up with all aspects.”

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(FILE)- Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. VOA

Saudi Arabia called Khashoggi’s killing inside its Istanbul consulate “a huge and grave mistake” and vowed those responsible for it would be held accountable.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News Sunday that Saudi agents “did this out of the scope of their authority,” calling it “a rogue operation.”

The top Saudi diplomat offered his condolences to Khashoggi’s family, but disclosed no new information about how the writer was killed, where his body is or if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — the country’s de facto ruler – was involved.

“There obviously was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up,” al-Jubeir said. “That is unacceptable in any government.”

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Saudi Arabi’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. VOA

Saudi Arabia claims the 59-year-old Khashoggi was killed October 2 after an argument leading to a fist fight — an explanation that has drawn widespread international scorn and skepticism, including from Trump. After he initially seemed willing to believe Saudi accounts, the president now says “obviously there has been deception, and there has been lies.”

Al-Jubeir said in the Fox television interview, “This is an aberration. This is a mistake and those responsible will be punished for it. We want to make sure that we know what happened and we want to make sure that those responsible be held to account.” Saudi Arabia says it has fired five key officials linked to the death and arrested 18 others.

Critics are questioning how a team of 15 Saudi agents could fly to Istanbul to meet Khashoggi and eventually kill him without the crown prince’s knowledge and consent. But al-Jubeir said, “There were not people closely tied to him,” although news accounts have said that several Saudi security officials close to Mohammed were involved.

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This image taken from CCTV video obtained by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and made available on Oct. 9, 2018 claims to show Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. VOA

Khashoggi was living in the U.S. in self-imposed exile, writing columns for The Washington Post that were critical of Mohammed and Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the conflict in Yemen.

Trump told the Post that Saudi Arabia has been an “incredible ally” of the United States for decades and it is possible the crown prince did not order Saudi agents to kill Khashoggi.

“Nobody has told me he is responsible. Nobody has told me he is not responsible,” the U.S. leader said. “We have not reached that point…I would love if he was not responsible.”

Numerous U.S. lawmakers, including Trump’s Republican colleagues, are calling for sanctions against the Saudis. Turkish investigators say Saudi agents tortured Khashoggi, decapitated him and then dismembered his body.

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In a frame from surveillance camera footage taken Oct. 2, 2018, and published Oct. 18, 2018, by Turkish newspaper Sabah, a man identified by Turkish officials as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, walks toward the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. VOA

Trump told the Post that “something will take place” in response to Khashoggi’s death, but said the United States should not let the incident disrupt a possible $110 billion weapons sale to Riyadh he announced last year.

“It’s the largest order in history,” Trump said. “To give that up would hurt us far more than it hurts them. Then all they’ll do is go to Russia or go to China. All that’s doing is hurting us.”

But one Trump supporter, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, told Fox “I don’t think arms should ever be seen as a jobs program.”

Other U.S. lawmakers voiced skepticism of the Saudi explanation for Khashoggi’s death.

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN he believes Mohammed bin Salman was responsible, saying, “Yes, I think he did it.”

 

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President Donald Trump talks to reporters about journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance prior to boarding Air Force One for travel to Montana from Joint Base Andrews, Md. VOA

A Trump critic, Democratic California Congressman Adam Schiff, told ABC News, “This ought to be a relationship-altering event for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia that we ought to suspend military sales, we ought to suspend certain security assistance.”

U.S. officials are faced with reconciling the Saudi explanation for Khashoggi’s death and Turkey’s claim an audio recording exists of Khashoggi’s torture and death. Trump denies U.S. officials have heard the audio or read transcripts of it, but the Post quoted sources saying that Central Intelligence Agency officials have listened to the audio. Verification of it would make it difficult to accept the Saudi explanation for Khashoggi’s death.

European leaders and the human rights group Amnesty International expressed skepticism about the Saudi explanation.

Britain, Germany and France issued a joint statement condemning the killing of Khashoggi and said there is an “urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened.” They said the Saudi explanation for the journalist’s death needs to be supported by facts in order to be credible.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the circumstances around Khashoggi’s death are deeply troubling, and called for a thorough, credible and transparent investigation.

Amnesty International called on Saudi Arabia to “immediately produce” Khashoggi’s body so an autopsy can be performed.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

Amnesty’s director of campaigns for the Middle East, Samah Hadid, said a United Nations investigation would be necessary to avoid a “Saudi whitewash” of the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi’s death. Hadid said such a cover-up may have been done to preserve Saudi Arabia’s international business ties. (VOA)