Notes on a sex scandal
This is my column today.
‘‘O my god! Have you seen it?! I have seen it and it’s beyond shocking!!!”
This was the text message, minus a few more exclamation points, that I received Sunday evening from a friend. I honestly had no clue about what my friend was hyperventilating about so I had to call to ask for more details. You know, stuff like who he was talking about (!), what exactly he saw (!), and where he saw it (!).
It turns out he was talking about what is probably the most googled item in the Net today: The alleged Part 3 of the video scandal involving this young sexy actress and this handsome doctor who was—and apparently, still is—involved with another high-profile female doctor. I don’t want to mention names because the identities are not really important to the point I will try to make in this piece. The sordid chain of events could have involved someone else; in fact, these things have happened to other people.
Some people were still texting me Monday night for the Internet address of the site where the video could be viewed or downloaded (some people are under the illusion that I have access to many confidential information, which really is farthest from the truth). I knew the site, but I refused to share it. I saw no point in adding to the humiliation the girl must be going through right now. Yes, I empathize with the girl and see her as a victim in this whole mess; just as I empathized with the other girls who were victimized by sex scandals in the past.
Let me state for the record though that while I have seen the video with my own two eyes; I don’t think I am qualified to verify the identities of the couple I saw writhing in bed. There is such a thing as selective perception; many times, people become convinced that they saw exactly what they wanted to see because that’s precisely what they wanted to see. However, more sex videos of the male doctor in question have flooded the Net. I am told one such video involves a young model that had a brief stint in a popular telenovela. The hypothesis that many bloggers have been making, which is that this doctor has an unusual addiction, seems to make sense although I grant that it cannot be considered a definitive clinical diagnosis.
But anyone with a functioning brain can easily surmise that the male person in the video set the whole thing up without the knowledge of the girl. The video I saw started with the guy setting the video camera presumably inside a closet and all throughout the video, it is apparent that he was performing and “choreographing” the act for the camera.
Thus, I still have to meet someone who had already seen the video who does not feel hatred for that guy in that video—he is such a scumbag.
Dirty pigs like him is more than enough justification to approve the bill filed early this year by Congressman Irwin Tieng of the party-list “Buhay” classifying as a criminal act the taking of sex photographs or videos. The comments I have seen in the Web logs of certain people who have discussed the video range from exhortations to have the guy subjected to sorcery (ipabarang natin!), stripped of his professional license, or openly mocking him as being in the wrong profession (he should be a porn star rather than a doctor). From what I gathered in the discussion threads in some blogs, the person is now supposed to be undergoing psychological and spiritual counseling. Good for him, but what about his female victims?
Sex videos, more popularly packaged as sex scandals, are a major issue in this country and sometimes for the wrong reasons. This is because it seems we always tend to get lost on the static and yield to the temptation to lump issues together and make generalizations.
For example, one blogger blamed our culture’s supposed fascination with sex scandals involving the rich, the famous, and the powerful. Another one maintained that the one that should be blamed is the person who leaked the videos—the implication being that taking videos even without the consent of both or one of the parties concerned is par for the course. Naturally, there are those who also blame the girls involved for not having the prescience to know that the guy in question was up to no good. Not to be outdone, some religious zealot blamed the whole thing on everyone else who is advocating sex education and the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill.
I agree that we seem to be a country that’s fixated with scandals. What’s more, the range of our fixation seems to have been stretched to extreme limits. My problem is that when we make gross generalizations, we automatically lose sight of the individual and specific issues that are often more important. Labeling this particular sex video as a “scandal” gets everyone focused and engrossed only on the lurid details and consequently, shaming the parties concerned. What usually happens is that we lose sight of the more important issues such as victimization, exploitation, discrimination, etc. In this particular case, a clear case of abuse is present. Who should be blamed for the fact that there is a sex video cannot be refuted.
I also agree that people who leak and spread sex videos, particularly those who stand to make money out of someone else’s shame and humiliation, should be made accountable. This is however indulging in wishful thinking as we all know that’s a task that’s even more difficult than ensuring clean elections in this country.
Punishing people who watch or download sex scandals smacks of hypocrisy. Whether we like to admit it or not, sex scandals spread like wildfire because there is a market out there—there are lots of people with a secret (or not-so-secret) craving for sex scandals, perhaps because it brings out the inner voyeur within them. Before we know it, someone will propose legislation requiring psychological testing and sexual profiling from everyone. And it doesn’t make sense to blame the ready availability of technology such as cellphones or the Internet, either. These are just tools.
So in this particular case, I am just going to limit accountability to one person. The sex videos are out there because one person took those videos without the consent of the other person, saved the files, and became careless with them.