MMS scandals: The deep, dark story of victims once the controversy 'dies'
New Delhi, Sep 20: Chandigarh University's MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) leak of 60 girls has once again brought the entire 'MMS evil' to the fore. A girl of the university allegedly leaked objectionable videos of 60 girls to her male friend which are now being claimed to have circulated all over the internet.
However, this is not the first time that a video leak has shook the nation and drawn so much attention.
There have been many cases in the past from around the country.
- A few days ago, Bhojpuri actor Akshara Singh's MMS was allegedly leaked. The actor held her ground and said in an interview to ETimes.com, "Whoever did such an act, I do not care about all these things. Someone made a statement. Even I haven't watched the MMS video yet... I'm not going to cry over such a cheap act, and it doesn't bother me."
- Another MMS video leak that had erupted into a huge controversy was that of Anjali Arora, who shot to fame for her Kacha Badam song. She, however, is reported to have said that it was not her and that people were trying to defame her.
- In 2009, 89-year-old ND Tiwari had to face huge embarrassment due to an alleged MMS leak. Tiwari was Andhra Pradesh governor when his video surfaced on the internet. Tiwari denied his role in the video. However, he had resigned from the governor's post.
- In 2004, the DPS MMS scandal hit the nation when an objectionable video of a Class XI couple surfaced on the internet.The 2 minutes and 37 seconds long clip, which allegedly showed a girl with another student, had gone viral at that time. The matter is still sub-judice.
- In an alleged MMS incident, a 16-year-old girl died by suicide in Ahmedabad after her boyfriend allegedly leaked her intimate video. This incident happened in 2020.
With the entire nation talking about these video links, Bollywood too jumped in and made movies around the topic. Some such movies were Dev D, Love Sex aur Dhoka, Ragini MMS and I don't Luv you.
What is the impact of such incidents on the victim?
When such incidents happen, it is talked about and known by one and all. As time passes, the news die down and people move on. However, the impact of such scandals is immense on the victims and their families. Such incidents may cause low self-esteem, depression, suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempt, and poor self esteem. Some victims may even show severe signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder long after the incident happened.
Also, it can lead to self-harm and isolation, and subject the victim to guilt without their fault. The constant public scrutiny and family pressure is sometimes so immense that it can make the victims fearful of their lives, if they are subject to persistent harassment.
How can the law help?
The law can help such victims. There are various sections in the IT Act, 2000 which ensures safeguarding the rights of victims in such cases.
Section 66E - Punishment for violation of privacy: This section covers the transmission of images of "a private area of any person without his or her consent".
Section 67 - Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form
This section deals with the publishing or transmitting of obscene material (described as "any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons").
Section 67A - Punishment for publishing or transmitting material containing the sexually explicit acts, etc., in electronic form
The section punishes publishing or transmitting of material which contains sexually explicit acts or conduct.
Section 354 C- Punishment for Voyeurism: Any man who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person.
With the help of law and mental health professionals, victims and their families can tide over such incidents and to a large extent minimize the blow of such mishaps.