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Norwich mum launches campaign to make sending explicit images illegal

PUBLISHED: 15:31 20 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:13 21 January 2019

Natasha Harpley, 39, has launched a petition to make it illegal to send unsolicited explicit photos. Photos: NATASHA HARPLEY/CHANGE.ORG

Natasha Harpley, 39, has launched a petition to make it illegal to send unsolicited explicit photos. Photos: NATASHA HARPLEY/CHANGE.ORG

NATASHA HARPLEY/CHANGE.ORG

A Norwich woman has launched a campaign against unsolicited explicit photographs, after a man sent her a picture of his genitals.

Natasha Harpley, a 39-year-old from Norwich, was sent the image by a stranger who added her as a friend on the social media platform, after telling him she wasn’t interested in him.

She said: “I sent him a message and said ‘how do I know you?’

“Almost immediately he asked if I wanted to have ‘sexy fun’ with him and I made it very clear I wasn’t interested.

“He messaged me again saying ‘Hi, how are you?’ and I told him I was fine until he messaged me.”

The man then sent Ms Harpley the explicit photo.

“I think he’s just someone who gets off on humiliation,” she said.

The mother-of-three shared the messages from the man on her Facebook timeline, to warn other women and to raise awareness of the issue, but was blocked from using her account for breaking Facebook’s community standards.

She said she was “annoyed” that the man who sent her the image did not receive any repercussions.

She said: “If you were in a bar and a man was chatting you up, and you said ‘no’ and he continued, you’d be within your rights to call the bouncers over.

“We’ve become desensitized to it on social media and shrug it off.

“There’s a mentality that women are asking for it just by being on a dating site or app.”

She added: “Personally I’m okay - I don’t consider myself a victim.

“It’s not going to affect me, but that doesn’t make it okay. There are people who laugh it off but that doesn’t make it acceptable.”

Ms Harpley has now launched a petition, calling for it to be made illegal to send unsolicited explicit photos, and for online platforms to introduce zero-tolerance to them.

She said: “Unwanted sexual advances and indecent exposure would not be acceptable in public.

“We need to change the toxic culture in which sexually aggressive men continue to get away with intimidating and harassing women.”

Ms Harpley, whose children are aged 13, 11 and eight, said she is concerned by the impact on them.

She said: “The NSPCC made a video about kids trying this. If it’s infiltrating children, it shows how endemic the problem is.”

To sign the petition, visit: www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-to-make-it-an-offence-for-men-to-send-unsolicited-penis-photos

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