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Radio Rookies: Sexual Cyberbullying

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Rookie Reporter Temitayo Fagbenle

Temitayo Fagbenle, Radio Rookie, talks about her piece on what she calls "slut shaming" -- how teens use the Internet to bully each other and share sexually explicit material.

→ Live Chat at 1pm Today: Radio Rookies Shares Advice

Comments [58]

James from Brooklyn

This story really affected me. I felt so bad for the victims. I was a bit overwhelmed by it to be honest. I'm still thinking about it. Why do these people want to hurt the people they've been so intimate with in such a profoundly abusive way? My hope is that when they are finally mature enough to understand how vicious and cruel what they've done is, that they will experience a shame far beyond what the so-called "sluts" experienced, even if its not so public. And I hope that shame starts with Temitayo's friend in the story who sounds really proud of himself. He should be wearing an A for unrepentant Abuser.

Jan. 14 2013 05:43 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Well, *someone* should be shamed, & it's Facebook. Can we take *that* viral?

Jan. 09 2013 01:30 AM
bette lyn from NYC

How are we raising our boys? What are we teaching them? The brutal attack on the young woman in India, Slut Shaming, sexism, paternalistic attitudes, women making less money for the same job in 2013, somehow it all seems connected to how we raise our boys to view girls and women. I find it interesting that in most families it is the women who spend more time raising the children.

Jan. 09 2013 12:49 AM
NB from Bronx

I am most impressed with this rookie reporter for all of the same reasons as other commenters. Her relating The Scarlet Letter to a modern problem is a stroke of genius simultaneously making literature relevant to today and illustrating the impact studying a piece of classic literature can have on a young person.

Jan. 08 2013 10:31 PM
William from Manhattan

Note to producers: Bob Garfield of On the Media interviewed the owner of the despicable "Is Anyone Down" website mentioned by one of your callers. I do not want to promote, so feel free to take my comment down after forward the link to your reporter: http://www.onthemedia.org/2012/nov/16/is-anybody-down/

Jan. 08 2013 09:43 PM
Janet A

I want to commend Temitayo for her great work. She did a terrific job with her radio rookies piece and as a guest on the Brian Lehrer show. I found her reporting interesting and all the more touching because it was coming from someone "on the front lines" of this terrible issue. Keep up the great work Temitayo!

Jan. 08 2013 08:07 PM
rh from NYC area.

Just like "don't say anything you don't want repeated" - don't do anything in front of a camera you wouldn't want a picture of sent to your mother.

"Slut shaming" is not new, but the ease of taking and sharing photos exacerbates the situation. I would also say that although the girls are victims, some of the guys do not have a chance to learn to respect people, due to parents or friends, and they could be roped into situations they don't truly understand. And do not discount adults sharing in the guilt - the Steubenville case involved taking a drugged girl from party to party, including to an assistant coach's house who said "no thanks" and the "rape crew" traveled on.

Jan. 08 2013 07:28 PM
catherine from Brooklyn NY

I heard the segment, and was annoyed at two of the callers: one who emphasized the danger to teachers having such material on their phones - hello, it's the girls involved who are the victims, not you! - and the woman who called in to say that many girls do this on purpose and are not victims; like the rookie reporter, I doubt this is a large proportion; plus it is yet another adult caller either minimizing the problem, blaming it on the girls, and/or seeing themselves as the victims.

What this segment made me think of was the really unbalanced view we have about sexuality, so that girls who are sexual are bad and should kill themselves, while boys are just fine and enhanced not only by being sexual but for doing this horrible thing to a girl they claim to like. It's such a sad statement about our society. If kids think it is funny to shame a girl so badly that she can't come to school and may even commit suicide, how is this so different from honor killings in societies we think of as barbaric? And boys that would record a sexual experience and post it, I would state that they don't actually like girls at all, they are into sex not only for their own pleasure but to injure and humiliate girls. It's really troubling.

Jan. 08 2013 05:44 PM
Marilyn Gilbert


Despite the incredibly shocking content of her report,Termitayo's poise and wonderful reporting style really shone through. I heard her on the interview with Brian Lehrer. What a self-possessed, mature, thoughtful young woman.
I am 65 years old, and agree with her that the double nature of media-portrayed images of sexual behaviour,vs. standards of appropriately self-respecting behavior make it difficult for young adolescents.
As a retired grade school teacher, the increasingly "ho like" styles for young girls put an emphasis on sexuality that is inappropriate.
I wonder what mothers of young girls are thinking when they shop with their children.

Jan. 08 2013 04:24 PM
John A

"many of the girls who take and post these images wear the name calling as a badge of honor, they are complicit"
-
I would like to Re-enforce this statement, noting that young Feminists, of adult age, will in part chose to own the words "slut", also "b--ch", and other such words as, yes, their badges of courage. Now, online, people gather together to reinforce themselves in whatever behavior they chose and these groups often span ages. The most adult of these post their bravest feminist stories, sexualized, and seek "followers", "friends", "likers" and "subscribers" for validation. From this underage girls may get their ideologies, as they "follow" these adults. Legally, there may be exposure to the tune of 'corruption of a minor', perhaps a lawyer can elaborate on this. In any case, laws need to be constructed in this void.

Jan. 08 2013 01:50 PM
ak

To the woman who called in making the point that "many of the girls who take and post these images wear the name calling as a badge of honor, they are complicit" i sincerely hope you do not have children, and it seems you may have been born an adult?? if you truly believe this, it is obvious that you were never a middle school aged young person with all the confusion, pressure, and complete IGNORANCE that this time in nearly eveyone's life is rife with. teenagers are basically still children mentally, half adults emotionally, and physically almost fully grown, ESPECIALLY young women. when i think back to my days in the 80's in middle school i am so so glad that facebook did not exist, it was such a sh-t show of name calling, sexual energy, and violence, and that was almost 20 years ago! i cannot imagine what it is like now, my children are still quite young. many adults these days cannot handle it, how the hell are teenagers supposed to?? the young women cannot be complicit lady, BECAUSE they are teenagers and are just not really capable of completely understanding the implications of the actions they are taking, whether they take the pictures or not. this whole game of "blaming young people" for not knowing what adults SHOULD know, but many still don't apparently, is such a split hair away from the sexualizing of them like adults that so often happens today in the first place. so because they are unfairly sexualized like adults, they should be treated like them?? what is wrong with you? thanks for your so called 'leadership'. pathetic.

Jan. 08 2013 12:04 PM
Amanda Bloom from Danbury, CT

While it's easy to point to the media for young girls' sexual behavior, it's also important to acknowledge that, generally, girls and boys of all ages are sexual beings. While it may be shocking or taboo to some, boys and girls sometimes become sexual at very young ages. I'm nearly 30 now, and I recall being in sixth grade, about 12 or 13 years of age, and knowing that some of my peers were having sex. And although we didn't have Facebook at that time, rumors and stories about girls and boys' sexual experiences would circulate around school like wildfire, and, as today, it was the girls who were most notorious for their actions. Historically, women's sexuality has always been a spinning coin – at times fascinating and celebrated, at others sordid and scandalous, often all of the above simultaneously. It appears that social media is merely magnifying an issue and making it more public, and more dangerous.

Jan. 08 2013 12:02 PM

Impugning the chastity of a woman is libel per-se. There is no need to show special damages from the particular statement.
Damages in an intentional tort such as libel are whatever the jury wants to award. Punitive Damages are intended to punish the tortfeasor.
You don't need to show actual damages.
Sue the kids who published the libel by email.
Everyone who forwarded the message is a publisher.
An advantage of a lawsuit is that you don't need to persuade an official to do his job, which officials generally have the discretion not to do.

Jan. 08 2013 11:56 AM
Nick K from Putnam County

I'm impressed with how sophisticated Temitayo Fagbenle sounds. Such a wise kid! She's going places. If only every young person were a insightful as she is...

Jan. 08 2013 11:50 AM
Guy from New York

i guess a "radio rookie" segment will have these limitations, but the conclusions offered, that the remedies to complex problems should be "pass some laws" or "get facebook to do something," are pretty simplistic and immature.
The least thought out of all solution implied by this segment may be to burden the schools with the task of unravelling and prosecuting sexual cybercrime problems that are obviously the responsibility of adult parents. Is there anything that Americans DON'T expect schools to be responsible for? (Teaching students, alleviating their poverty, providing surrogate parenting, psychological counseling services, test prepping, armed defense, and now the monitoring of student's on-line criminal activity.)

Jan. 08 2013 11:49 AM
Alicia from Long Island City

The documentary Sexy Baby illustrates how pornography has infiltrated the mainstream and young women are inundated with hyper-sexualized images since infancy. Adults have to take responsibility for this and force search engines and social media to delete, and possibly prevent, child pornography. This is not a matter of free speech but a perversion of the first amendment that is literally killing our children.

Jan. 08 2013 11:48 AM
carol weinstein karlin from teaneck

i am amazed at the maturity and sensitivity of this young woman. her reporting, reasoning, and articulation are excellent.

i am further concerned that there seems to continually be no way to address, and respond to this kind of behavior.

Jan. 08 2013 11:48 AM
Anonymous from Manhattan

Girls...boys don't want YOU they want SEX....you will NOT even know these boys when you are 21!! - No matter how much you put out`, they will not stay with you and your nude pic on the internet is FOREVER - not worth fighting each other over boys - Keep your legs CLOSED and read a book!

Jan. 08 2013 11:48 AM
alice

I am so impressed with this radio rookie- when listening to her, you cannot believe she is only 16 yearas old. She should be praised for her journalistic efforts and for bringing this issue to the forefront. Perhaps she will have more of an impact on her peers than an adult might have. Thank you for interviewing her!

Jan. 08 2013 11:48 AM
Julia from NYC

To answer Brian's question about why girl's do this or how they let it happen--having been a girl that age, it is incredible what you do and do not know, understand, comprehend about this situation. You cannot imagine how much someone that age is evolving an understanding of sex, trust, and intimacy. It is very, very easy to make a mistake and trust someone you shouldn't. Try to imagine that a girl of 15 or 16 is in a process of learning. The cost of a mistake is much higher than it ever was.

Jan. 08 2013 11:46 AM
Trish from NYC

First, Ms. Fagbenle is very impressive! This whole story is so disturbing. Shame on Facebook.

Jan. 08 2013 11:45 AM
Molly from Brooklyn

I have been teaching high school in Brooklyn for the past 9 years and an experience that I have had increasingly since I started teaching is that conflicts that arise on Facebook and other media sites lead to violence in school. I have witnessed many fights that started on a social media site. I believe that students engage in more bullying behavior online because it is easier to be mean and confrontational in interactions that are not face to face, but then those conflicts escalate to the point where kids fight at school and even bring other people to school to fight over things that started on Facebook.

Jan. 08 2013 11:45 AM
Tony from UWS

Temitayo is an amazing young woman. It gives me hope for the future listening to her. Thank you.

Jan. 08 2013 11:44 AM
Juliarose Coulombe from westchester

A previous caller mentioned not all of the girls being victims. I strongly disagree. As a child who grew up too quickly myself, I would like to remind her that these are still children we're talking about. The provacative young girls are victims of low self esteem, lack of parental guidance and a whole myriad of other issues. They need positive attention and help from adults regardless of how they are portraying themselves.

Jan. 08 2013 11:44 AM


I agree with BK. Should these children be labeled for life due to childhood nonesense? Parents should be contacted and invovled. Is the issue the image itself or the comments? Harsh comments are truly hurtful. The image depending on the its nature and its legality could be intrepreted subjectively.

Jan. 08 2013 11:44 AM
John A

List of Adults who have become famous for publishing "leaked" pornography of themselves online - is over 100. This is what our society allows our kids to be raised seeing.

Jan. 08 2013 11:41 AM
Pearl

It bothers me that some people feel the girls who do this "voluntarily" (rather than being secretly filmed or photographed) are seen as doing just that; making a fully conscious decision regarding their sexual identity. We live in a society that values the sexuality of (young) women, and it is impossible to say how much agency teenage girls truly have in the decision to take risque photos. This is a social problem, not a problem with technology.

Jan. 08 2013 11:41 AM
savitra from manhattan

why are we teaching our children to be so mean?

Jan. 08 2013 11:41 AM
Linda from Manhattan

Did the principal call the parents of the BOY who posted the secret video?

Jan. 08 2013 11:41 AM
Eliza from Manhattan

A bunch of goofy kids decide that another kid in a tee shirt is something to be ashamed of ( since when is a tshirt nude?) I think this is the reason why we need to jam more academics down these kids they have nothing better to do because they are idle in hands and sloths in mind. WHy would facebook remove a photo of someone in a tshirt? NO one ever said that there were photos of minor kids in the nude ... you can see how the distortions are growing as the broadcast continues. NUDE means completely naked not in a tshirt
This is ridiculous ....KIds like this can take a picture of another kid wearing the wrong brand of sneakers and turn it into shame and disgrace.
The whole issue (except for the fact that we have kids on a shame hair trigger) is all over blown and has become really stupid.
THis whole thing reminds me of the Salem witch hunts which were also started by adolescent kids accusing and pointing fingers. Put the brats in school and make them do some real work instead of boring radio reports
In their own voices, you hear the hypocrisy and mean sprited ness that these kids inherit from their parents and society accusing each other of being witches and with this report dragging us all down this ridiculous road. Now I hear the commenter saying that the exposure of this sexuality that is supposed to be suppressed is wrongly suppressed!

Jan. 08 2013 11:40 AM
pina from South Plainfield

Very, very disturbing...

Jan. 08 2013 11:39 AM
Paula from Springfield

We should take these posts as a cry for help from our children. We are doing something wrong if our children our behaving this way. Our boys are not respecting our girls and our girls are not respecting themselves either. Thank you to the radio rookie for bringing this issue to the forefront. Let's raise our children to stand up against this behavior!

Jan. 08 2013 11:39 AM

On a point of semantics, people are misusing the word "slut"

A slut is a slovenly woman or bad housekeeper.

If you need a word to describe a woman's perceived to have loose morals - and I don't think you do, her behavior is nobody's business but hers - the the word would be "slattern".

Jan. 08 2013 11:39 AM
The Truth from Becky

If parents don't start parenting "new millenium" style, their kids are going to end up in J A I L!! Ignorance of the law is not a defense!!

Jan. 08 2013 11:38 AM
Megan from Brooklyn

Can we talk about the disparity between the perception between how boys who have, or are presumed to have, lots of sex and the girls who have, or are presumed to have lots of sex? Why only the girls shamed for having sex, or being sexual?

Jan. 08 2013 11:38 AM
Trevor from Red Hook, Brooklyn

I would like to know what it takes for Facebook to ban a user. Facebook is not a god-given right, there's no reason that those who use this as a vehicle for hate should be allowed to continue using it. Facebook must have access to technology sophisticated enough to track users who post child pornography and keep them from opening up new accounts.

Jan. 08 2013 11:37 AM
Freddy from bushwick

I heard this piece this morning and it surprisingly, didn't shock me when I think that young people today hold people such as Kim Kardashian as a role model. This is a woman, who became famous because of a sex tape is everywhere: a fashion line in Sears, perfume, a top-rated show on E!, and now a pregnancy with one man while still married to another.

Jan. 08 2013 11:37 AM
NJMomma

was the nyc police contacted re. the posting of the passed out naked teen? facebook should be contacted at the c-suite level to find out if these types of postings by minors are really acceptable as part of their corporate mission????

Jan. 08 2013 11:37 AM
D3ebbie Ray from Mendham

I can only hope that my 3 year old granddaughter grows up to be such a courageous, self-aware, articulate, and mature as Ms. Fagbenle. Bravo to you .... we await with interest your next endeavors ... Your abilities guarantee a bright and meaningful future. Thank you so much for your efforts to keep all teenagers safe.

Jan. 08 2013 11:37 AM
John A

Again, adult attention onair please! How about an ADA?

Jan. 08 2013 11:36 AM
Mary from UWS

Not commenting on this particular story - it is disturbing. However, I think Radio Rookies is one of the best programs for kids to be involved in. This young lady is an inspiration and I see a bright future for her and I think most of the Radio Rookies I have heard. I wish I had the opportunity to be involved in something like this 30 years ago. Kudos WNYC for providing such a great opportunity for these kids.

Jan. 08 2013 11:36 AM

Nudity is not pornography.

Jan. 08 2013 11:36 AM
jonathan

This isn't new. I remember remarkably similar things happening when I was in middle school, as far back as 1998. One kid e-mailed a picture his girlfriend had given him, it was then widely disseminated, and one student even printed out copies and taped them to cars in the school parking lot. It was a cascading wave of immaturity.
We can expect individuals to grow, but every new crop of middle school, high school and college students will be just as dumb and insensitive as the one before.
I'm eager to hear solutions to this technological pandora's box, but none have been forthcoming in 14 years.

Jan. 08 2013 11:35 AM
jm

If they're minors, they're victims.

Jan. 08 2013 11:35 AM
Debra Gilley from Levittown, NY

This is distributing child pornography and these perpetrators, no matter how young they are, should be prosecuted as sex offenders. If this was to become common practice, it would stop pretty quickly as a registered sex offender has a miserable life forever.

Jan. 08 2013 11:35 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Sue....Sue the poster, sue facebook if they don't take it down. Implication of loose morality is one of the few cases where a slander will stand.

Jan. 08 2013 11:35 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

In retrospect, FaceBook ought to be prosecuted for child pornography if they don't immediately remove any inappropriate photos. They are trafficking, even if the photos don't originate with them. Maybe if you call them to report incidents, you should mention that.

Jan. 08 2013 11:35 AM
Rivka from Brooklyn

Couldn't the teacher who had the photo on his phone report it?

Jan. 08 2013 11:34 AM
Nick from UWS

Temitayo is a wonderful reporter with white hot intelligence. Bravo to her, and I hope she continues her great work.

Jan. 08 2013 11:34 AM
john from office

Folks, WHERE ARE THE PARENTS!!! We are raising idiots, heartless idiots with no empathy.

Jan. 08 2013 11:34 AM

Posting sexually explicit pictures of children online is a felony. If you don't get an immediate response from a site like Facebook, report images to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. http://www.ncmec.org/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=169

Jan. 08 2013 11:31 AM
Mel from Brooklyn

A remarkable piece of reporting by Ms. Fagbenle. Insightful. Heartbreaking. Disturbing.

Jan. 08 2013 11:31 AM
BK from Hoboken

Prosecution this using child pornography would literally ruin the boy's life. He becomes a registered sex offender for life. That is too harsh. Laws need to be updated for this situation, but you can't turn this stupid nasty kids into sex offenders for life.
That said, if it happens so much, when are kids going to learn to NOT send naked pics? Jeez. Wake up kids!

Jan. 08 2013 11:30 AM
John A

Parents please note that kids will often have multiple online identities, a safe one for the parents and then others that will not be. Shaming is something that may have grown organically into a void of shamelessness.

Jan. 08 2013 11:29 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

The difference between "slut shaming" and the Scarlet Letter is that the Scarlet Letter was local and died with the person. Anything on the internet lives forever and is world-wide.

Another important issue here is that we are talking about minors and whenever sexually explicit pictures of minors are taken, sent, received, downloaded, this falls into the child pornography legislation and the minor children who are participating (other than the victims) are going to be labeled sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

If this behavior doesn't stop immediately, there are going to be far worse consequences than any of the participants can possibly imagine.

I'm listening now to Rob Astorino speaking about the role of parents in controlling the violence their children encounter, but that applies to this "slut shaming" business as well. Parents have to be parents, sit down with their kids and tell them the facts of life, and, if necessary, take away their cell phones and only permit supervised computer use. This behavior is SO unacceptable on so many levels that our society will crumble if parents, educators, religious leaders, community leaders and others don't crack down.

Jan. 08 2013 10:46 AM
MB

I heard this story this morning and was outraged and heartbroken. I am wondering what Facebook would have done if the picture had been of a naked boy. Congrats to Ms. Fagbenie for her excellent reporting.

Jan. 08 2013 10:34 AM

Heard this young lady's report this morning. Fantastic work! Great vocal delivery, too! Q.: What stops DAs from prosecuting the posters and Facebook & other webhosts as purveyors of child pornography?

Jan. 08 2013 10:28 AM
John A

Slut shaming is a fairly well known concept in youth society and deserves adult attention onair some time.

Jan. 08 2013 10:18 AM

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