Fierce

A Man From Colombia’s Arrest Was Dramatically Captured On Video After He Was Caught Taking ‘Upskirts’ Of Women

Another day, another devastating story illustrating how pervasive the sexual harassment of women is in the world. As technology develops, there will always be predators looking to use technological advancements as simply another means to take advantage of women. The prevalence of camera phones, as well as social media, has made it easier than ever for people to exploit women anywhere at any time. Luckily, as the Me Too movement wages on, many women no longer feel like they have to be silent to protect themselves. And because of this, the general public has recognized the lasting damage that structural sexism and sexual abuse has had on women as a whole.

This change has never been more clear than with the newest viral headline making the rounds on the internet. On Wednesday, Spanish police announced to the press that they had arrested a 53-year-old Colombian man suspected of taking more than 500 “upskirt” videos of unsuspecting women and uploading them to porn websites. The man, whose identity has not been revealed, was caught mid-act following a long investigation. 

The police were first aware of the suspect after the unconsensual videos were uncovered on a pornographic website. According to authorities, at least two of the women filled were minors. 

On Wednesday, the Spanish police posted a video to their social media accounts of the suspect’s arrest.

The police captioned the video as follows: “In the Madrid subway, we stopped one of the biggest predators of women’s privacy. He recorded videos under skirts and dresses and published them on pornographic websites. He acted daily and compulsively.”

The video starts mid-arrest and paints a dramatic scene, the man struggling against the police as they restrain him. 

Eventually, they wrestle him to the ground in the subway and are finally able to handcuff him. According to police, the man’s behavior was “compulsive” and he filmed women everywhere from subways to supermarkets. The man allegedly hid his phone in a pocket of his backpack and sometimes even approached victims under the pretense of making small talk in order to better capture his recordings. He then uploaded the videos to various websites, sometimes adding music to the recordings and editing them to be in slow-motion.

To say the man was a predator would be an understatement: he uploaded approximately 283 videos online to pornography websites–some videos including shots of the unsuspecting women’s faces. Other than his predatory behavior, the Colombian man apparently led a very nondescript life, working at a warehouse in Pinto and living a quiet life in the Madrid suburb of Usera. According to authorities, he used the time in his daily commute to film his victims–once up to 29 women in a single day. 

But what’s possibly even more disturbing than his behavior is the popularity of his porn account: the suspect had 3,519 subscribers, 85,000 visitors, and almost 1.4 million video views altogether. 

The popularity of the account proves that these kinds of boundary-crossing pictures are in high demand on the internet. The man’s arrest has launched an important debate among the public about technology, social media, and the different ways it is being used to exploit and take advantage of women. While countries like the United Kingdom outlawed the act of “upskirting” in April (with offenders facing up to 2 years in jail), other places have been slower to act. In fact, women in South Korea have taken to the streets to march against the common practice as well as other hidden-camera recordings of them. Even in Spain, the act of “upskirting” isn’t technically illegal, and this suspect was instead arrested under the charge of “privacy violation” and “corruption of minors.”

Many places don’t consider upskirting a crime because many of the photos aren’t “graphic”, as many of the women have underwear on. 

Additionally, in many places, perpetrators can’t be charged with voyeurism because the intimate photos they’re taking are being done in public places. According to many laws, voyeurism only applies to pictures and videos taken in private areas (like bathrooms and changing rooms). 

But any woman who has been violated by photos taken or shared without their consent will tell you that it’s not always the content of the photos and videos that is so humiliating, but the fact that they have no agency in its distribution. Women shouldn’t have to monitor what they wear or walk around in fear simply because they’re afraid that some man will take a picture of them without them knowing. But as we shine spotlights more often on the consequences of this practice, and as more and more women come forward with their stories, it seems as if the tides are turning. In this case, we’re glad for the arrest and we hope for justice to be properly served.

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