MLA advises young girls to be careful of their photos

Published on February 20, 2014
Lenore Zann

TRURO - Lenore Zann says lessons must be learned from a website incident that involved pictures of local nude women.

Zann, the MLA for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River, spoke to the Truro Daily News on Thursday, two days after a website - which showed naked and scantily dressed women and young girls from Truro and area - was partly shut down.

"I think what we really need to take from this is that a lot of these young women, they may think that somebody is going to cherish that picture of them forever, but they have to realize they cannot allow themselves to be placed in that position because they don't know where that picture is going to end up," said Zann.

"And the boys have to realize this is not OK. This is disrespectful, it's treating women as objects and that day and age should long be past."

In January, Zann received a message from a local woman who informed her of a new website where young men from the area were posting photos of women and young girls, and commenting on them.

"The woman who contacted me told me that the picture put up there of her, she only heard about it a few months ago and it was a picture taken of her a few years ago when she was underage, and it was taken at the time by her then-boyfriend and she thought nothing of it back then, and now all of a sudden it's up on this website."

Last December, Zann said she was bullied online after a nude picture of her showed up on a Twitter account. She filed a complaint with CyberScan, the province's cyberbullying investigative unit, but later dropped it, saying she was satisfied that police and the CyberScan unit did all they could. Zann said the woman confided in her because of that experience.

"Because it was so fresh for me I knew exactly what she was talking about, so she definitely called the right person," said Zann.

Zann contacted Truro Police Service about the website, however, said she was told that unless someone who was underage on the website came forward, there was nothing it could do.

She then took her complaint to CyberScan, who said it would contact the host, which was in South America, and request the removal of the site.

Meanwhile, Zann explored another option by contacting Justice Minister Peter MacKay.

"I thought, ‘well, if the police can't do anything and the CyberScan people cant do anything, and they're the justice department of Nova Scotia, and this is child pornography we're talking about, I'm going to call the minister of justice and tell them about it and see if they can do something,"' Zann said.

Zann said she had a "good, thorough discussion" with MacKay's executive assistant about a week-and-a-half ago, and on Wednesday she was relieved to learn that part of the website was shut down.

"I'm really, really thrilled and so is the girl who originally wrote to me, and she said she knows others who are on there and she said she would be in touch with them, but she knows they will be feeling good too."