Mirror Weekly reported the incident exposing the Taiwanese version of Room N. More than 300 victims were scammed into obtaining private images, along with their personal data, sold as merchandise. Why does the patriarchal system make some men think that they are entitled to steal the "sex" of girls? In the face of heinous crime, in addition to fear and powerlessness, can we break through the action and generate strength in fear?

The 2018 South Korea Room N incident shocked the world, making people angry and scared, and at the same time glad that this incident did not happen in Taiwan, as if they could keep a distance from evil.

But sexual violence is like a flood that travels through time and space and never stops in any corner of the world, including Taiwan.

On July 27, 2022, Mirror Weekly reported "Youth Purgatory: Online Hunting Private Image Incident Book", exposing the Taiwan version of the Room N incident.

Up to 300 victims were deceived into obtaining private images, along with personal information such as social accounts and school classes, marked with numbers and prices, and sold as goods on the Internet.

The perpetrator "Airdrop5" cooperated with the paid pornography forum "Creative Private House" to sell for profit through serial fraud. Such large-scale, systematic, and even industrialized digital violence crimes are really being staged in Taiwan.

Photo | Photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash

We would like to ask, why does the patriarchal system make some men think that they are entitled to steal the "sex" of a girl and in turn humiliate her? What kind of social culture promotes this sense of power?

In the face of heinous criminal incidents, in addition to fear and powerlessness, can we break through the action and generate strength in fear?

The patriarchal system recognizes women as givers for granted, including sex

The criminal method revealed in the report is to lock in a small-scale Internet celebrity on IG or Douyin, and attract them with a high-paying chat job of 20,000 yuan for 5 hours. In the process of chatting, customers ask the influencer to be naked and pose sexy.

Due to the prior assurance that a confidentiality agreement had been signed to ensure that the private images would not be exposed, the girls cooperated with the performance despite their concerns. However, as soon as the image was sent, the account was immediately blocked, not only did not get paid, but also found that his private image was made into a commodity.

It turned out that in the beginning, this was a planned scam.

Photo | Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash

The seller did not admit that he had fraudulently obtained the image, but instead claimed that the women were "tuned" and "developed" by him, and the members of the forum would shout: "Please get on the bus!" "What a God!" How exactly is it taught?"

One by one, the merchant and the consumer are like a cult, setting up the girls on the altar, and the more they watch her suffer, the more the crowd celebrates, as if it were a victory.

Such collective madness, whether one's actions are causing harm to others, stems from patriarchy's deliberate attempt to make men think that stealing women's sex is a matter of course.

Kate Mann argues in Not Just Misogyny that men are not objectifying women, they are certainly fellow human beings. "But women may not be mere fellow human beings, but rather as 'human givers.'" These efforts include care, comfort, caring, emotions, reproductive labor, and of course sex.

In the patriarchal rule, men are subjective, strong, and demanding, and women need to cooperate with this set of scripts, and the role of the object, the weak, and the giver is possible for the whole set of mechanisms to operate.

Therefore, men do not feel strange about the hunting of sex and female bodies, but are encouraged, and each time they shout: "Please get on the car!" They all show that they are active and masculine enterprising people who conform to patriarchal norms.

Society tells him that you have such qualifications, whether it is through fraud, power, money, violence or whatever, you are allowed to take away women's sex.

Photo | Photo by DANNY G on Unsplash

Taking sex is also humiliating you in turn: a threatened masculine culture and a misogynistic complex

This set of "I am strong and you are weak" script has been staged for thousands of years, and in recent decades, it has been challenged by feminism, and the masculinity and masculinity culture are threatened, so it gradually gathers into a misogynistic plot and forms various counterattacks.

Mirror Weekly mentioned in the report that the woman who was exported to the video was harassed in her online and offline life, received sexual humiliation messages from time to time, or passers-by abused her with keywords in the film.

Fang Nianxuan, an associate professor at the School of Communication at National Chengchi University, pointed out that these perpetrators are not only satisfying their desires, but also demonstrating their power: "His (the perpetrator's) entertainment is no longer just about looking at the flesh, he is about having control. The victim is in the real world, you are in the light, he is in the dark, you don't know that he knows everything about you, they see your image and they know that you go to the toilet, they know that you go to bed."

Associate Professor Fang Nianxuan further analyzed this phenomenon in "This is love for women, but also misogyny", which comes from the increasingly obvious female figure and volume in the public field of men, feeling pressure, so that their masculinity is greatly coerced.

"Therefore, in a self-defensive, reactive way of saying and acting on digital platforms, leaking women's personal information in the form of private images, digital harassment, public humiliation, and even revenge pornography, in order to achieve what they consider 'justice'."

Photo | Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

So to take sex, but also to humiliate you in turn, to tell you that I have seen it, to tell you that I know it is you, just to let you know, "You should not have such a right."

Sex is my dominant, you can only be the object that satisfies me!
Your body is not your own, and I have the right to take and judge you!
The right to speak is ours, you can only obediently shut your mouth on the side!
Money and power are also mine, you can only be deceived because of it, but in the end you will not have it at all!

So in the entire structure of crime, people who upload videos are not only not blamed, but also worshipped.

Zhang Kunxian, a police officer who has cracked the two major pornography forums, said in the report: "The original creator will not do it only once, but will continue to use the same method to commit crimes, accumulating a lot of victims." Maybe it's to sell money, but usually it's not just for the sake of selling money, but the glory of their little circle, called god, big, and that kind of false name is very attractive."

They are seen as guardians of masculine culture, and the victims are sinners who deserve to be surrendered.

Jump out of the patriarchal script and find agency and vulnerability

Seeing this, you may become more and more discouraged, angry and disappointed with the world. When many people watched the report, they also gradually felt the suffocation and sadness, and they seemed to become powerless and unable to do anything.

But at the end of the report, several girls who revealed the incident by name began to no longer shrink back and hide. After experiencing fear, pain, and even suicide attempts, they choose to make it public that they are the characters in the video, telling these stories in their own way.

On her IG account, she shares what happened to her fans and fills in the university department she wants to study, even if it will expose her to many people; Wang Lan cut her hair, learned Muay Thai, smiled and said that one day in the future, "I will squash them well."; The toilet screen was secretly filmed and sold, and Zhang Xici, who is also a female fan creator, has repeatedly exposed her experience of sexual violence in the column and launched the "Safe Toilet Plan".

Heetz told everyone, "That film will always be there, but you are still the original you, and you will not become a relatively bad or worthless person because you have been seen a few times."
"Actually, they can really take nothing, but we are going to get justice back from them, why do you think you can see it?" Have you ever thought about the impact this has had on me?"

I'm not just crying and crying, and I'm not just forgetting, it's just that I'm no longer subject to your script and forced to play a crying character. I'm heartbroken and I'm miserable, but my life goes on and I'm going to live for myself.

The picture | "Toilet With Peace of Mind"

As if the head was about to drown in the water, it suddenly gained the strength to pop out of the water, breathing heavily, and the girls showed the "agency" of the victims.

Wang Xiaodan, a professor at the Law School of Chengchi University, pointed out that when the victims show agency, they resist masculinity culture and break through the dualistic opposites of the covenant theory in chapter 11 of "This is Love and Misogyny", "Rereading the Victims of Sexual Violence: Rewriting the Meaning of Agency and Vulnerability".

As we mentioned earlier, the fundamental operating logic of the patriarchal system is the duality of opposition: male/female, masculine/weak, seizing/giving, victimizing/victimizing.

The victim in the traditional imagination should be weak and powerless, and can only stay in the position of the victim with a sad and depressed mood. The victim can receive sympathy and pity, but it just erases the subjectivity of the victim himself.

So to break out of the patriarchal system is to let the victim discover his own initiative - "You have the right to interpret anything that happens to you, you are the master of your own story." 」

Photo | Photo by Cristian Palmer on Unsplash

To regain agency is not to ask the victim to become masculine, because it is again falling into the trap of patriarchy. It's about embracing vulnerability like the girl in this incident, admitting that I was cheated on, that I was hurt, that I was sad.

Not completely powerless or masculine, not choosing which end of the poles to stand on, but standing in the middle, truly standing with the fragile but at the same time resilient me.

It's like declaring to the patriarchy, "You're not the one I'm going to fight against, and I don't mean to stand against you, because that means I'm falling into the script you set up again, playing a controlled supporting role." I live my own life, I act for myself, I cry and laugh for myself, and I am happy and lost."

Another comforting thing in this report is that Wu Zhenwei, who helped to expose one of the whole incidents, accidentally obtained a forum link and found that it was a crime scene, and immediately decided to assist the victims in collecting the disclosure. As a man, he did not become an accomplice to the patriarchal system, but was able to feel the pain of others and put them into action to change.

Therefore, we also found that the patriarchal system is not absolute, and everyone in it can make a choice.

No longer just powerless to suffer and worry about escaping, let us turn around and see the pattern of the whole patriarchal system! In turn, empower from our perspective to live an independent version of the story.

The Taiwanese version of the Room N incident will no longer be just a terrible victim story, because from now on, we are all powerful people.

(Extended reading: After the Incident of the Taiwan version of Room N, what should I do if the private images are outflowed?) Search for evidence alarm, appeal channels, healing resources to see at once)