If you've ever been filmed without your consent — in fact, even if you haven't — Jase Dillan's video confronting an man allegedly making secret videos of women and girls, recently posted at Cosmopolitan.com along with other media outlets, will likely hit home for you. The man has not been identified, nor is he reachable for comment; additionally, no charges have been filed, according to MyFoxBoston.com. But creepshots, as they're aptly known, are a disgustingly common occurrence, and they typically go something like this: You're out grocery shopping, or commuting to work, or meeting a friend for coffee, when you feel eyes on you. You glance around, but everyone seems to be occupied with other matters — save for the one guy a few feet away, faux-casually holding up his phone at the perfect angle to take a photo of your cleavage. As a hot rush of anger and embarrassment courses through you, you're left with the choice of confrontation or fleeing the scene.
Although many women (understandably) choose the latter, Boston-based musician Jase Dillan decided to take matters into her own hands. According to a video she posted on Facebook, Dillan claims she was out and about on Newbury Street when she noticed a man, who could not be identified or reached for comment, allegedly filming her body as she walked back to her car. She told Cosmopolitan.com in an interview that she then set up camp in her vehicle, where she realigned her mirrors to watch the man's activity; she claims that from her vantage point, she watched him allegedly continue taking videos of women's crotches and backsides as they walked by. But when the man, she claims, allegedly filmed two girls who "could not have been more than 14 years old," she said, she took action. First, she called the police, and then she began following him.
Dillan then decided to confront the man — while turning the camera on him as a reversal of the situation, if he had indeed been filming women without their consent. "I'm sorry, am I making you uncomfortable?" she asks in between demands to see his camera and delete the footage. "You don't like being filmed without your permission?" In the video, the man does not fully acknowledge filming the women or girls.
Dillan keeps it relatively conversational at first, although eventually she begins speaking loudly enough for passers-by to take notice. The man continues to deny the accusations. Then he asks why he would need her permission, to which she responds, "You want to talk legal semantics with me right now?"
According to MyFoxBoston.com, police report that there isn't much they can do about the situation; no laws were broken, and no charges have been filed against the man.
Considering the amount of women out there who have had to deal with street harassment, creepshots, and all the other lovely perks of living in a patriarchal society, it's no wonder that the post went viral, with more than two million views and 53,000 shares online. Bustle also reached out to Dillan for comment but didn't hear anything back as of press time.
Of course, no discussion of creepshots would be complete without noting the murky legalities surrounding the phenomenon. Proponents of secretly filming women in public (yes, they exist) claim that public spaces are inherently without privacy, and as such, they're doing nothing wrong by taking photos of strangers. In fact, women who speak out about their desire for privacy are told to shut up and appreciate the fact that men think they're hot enough to photograph — you know, because the male gaze is more important than women's ownership of their bodies. Although the millions of women who experience street harassment and the 37 percent who report via Hollaback! that such sexual harassment makes them fearful to leave the house alone no doubt beg to differ, current laws in some states kinda-sorta support this view, because Free Speech!!! trumps women's ability to feel safe in public spaces.
That being said, as someone who has been filmed in public on far too many occasions but never had the nerve to confront the men in question, I can tell you first-hand that Dillan's video is a revenge fantasy come beautifully true if. Considering the rates of violence against women in our society, as well as its tendency toward victim-blaming, it's totally understandable that most women choose not to call out men who take videos without their consent — how do you know he won't become dangerously violent? The odds aren't exactly in women's favor, but Dillan's video is a powerful statement. Safety should always come first when it comes to confronting chauvinistic pigs — but if the man in the video was in fact filming women without their consent, it gives us a glimpse of what it's like turn the tables on someone who makes you feel uncomfortable.