16/08/2017 06:40 BST | Updated 16/08/2017 06:49 BST

I Was Sent 120 Pornographic Photos On The Tube, Don't Tell Me It's My Fault


When a stranger's naked penis landed on my homescreen on Monday evening on a packed Victoria line to Brixton, it is fair to say I didn't find it particularly amusing.

Not only because I deleted Tinder months ago to avoid exactly this sort of interaction with the opposite sex, but because I was knee-deep in a Twitter thread about good dogs and it really broke my concentration.

What followed after the initial wave of confusion was the more-commonly associated feelings of being a victim of a sexual assault - phenomenal embarrassment and shame.

Compounded by the fact there was a young child and their mother sat within viewing distance of my phone.

So like any good millennial fighting the good fight against the patriarchy, I wasted no time in taking to social media to share the photograph, my disgust, and generally to look for some validation in feeling totally and utterly sick to my stomach.

They say a problem shared is a problem halved right? Wrong.

Being a journalist (and a female one who has the audacity to write technology stories at that) I should have known that I wasn't going to get the response I would have hoped for, but even so, I was shocked.

Straight from the off, the discussion born from the thread didn't ask why this pervert felt such a degree of male entitlement that he had no qualms in imposing 120 photographs of his genitals on a stranger who was just commuting home from work.

No, instead it neatly circled around my privacy settings and why my AirDrop had been turned on, and left on, in the first place.

No doubt some of these contributors were well-meaning, genuinely helping out a woman who clearly leaves something to be desired in the cyber-security stakes (I've got a list of all my important passwords in the back of my diary too you know).

I'm sure some of them even thought that I didn't know what AirDrop was, or how to turn it off, and they were just helping a gal out.

But this is simply not the conversation we should be having here.

No matter what your motives are in serving up said response (and some of the Facebook comments that came in the subsequent 24 hours after writing about this indicated they totally meant to be a misogynistic arse), you are placing the blame squarely on the victim.

In the same way that people believe rape victims might look a little less desirable if they had the foresight to wear a longer skirt, or drink one less cocktail.

In the same way that women who get approached by men at the gym when they're just trying to exercise, should maybe not have worn lycra that clings so wonderfully when they are doing a squat.

It is exactly the same to suggest that I should have anticipated being bombarded with dick pics, because I was foolish enough to leave my phone settings unguarded, and that I should first and foremost be annoyed at myself for letting it happen.

And I won't. I refuse to feel in any way responsible for this.

Yes, turning it off stops me from receiving the pictures, it makes it harder for the perverts to contact you when you have the nerve to leave the house in the morning.

But it doesn't stop the offender from sending them to someone else, from believing that they can hide behind their phone screen and cause harm and distress to unsuspecting people around them.

And quite honestly it is insulting to men to suggest that the only way they can resist making sex offenders of themselves is to block their methods of communication.

So stop telling me to turn my AirDrop off and let me get back to my dog pictures.