Things That Matter

13 People Have Accused Peruvian Photographer Mario Testino of Sexual Assault

Instagram/@mariotestino

In a new investigative piece by The New York Times, 13 male assistants and models have accused Peruvian photographer Mario Testino of sexual assault.

In response to the accusations, which include sexual advances such as groping and masturbation, legal representatives of the famed photographer told The New York Times that the accusers are not credible. They also added that former employees were “shocked by the allegations.”

One of the models that spoke out about working with Testino said nudity is a must on his shoots.

“If you wanted to work with Mario, you needed to do a nude shoot at the Chateau Marmont,” said model Jason Fedele, who spoke to The Times. “All the agents knew that this was the thing to excel or advance your career.”

Testino has worked for Vogue and other high-profile magazines for decades. One of his most recent shoots was with Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez.

In response to the sexual abuse allegations, which include accusations against another Vogue photographer, Bruce Weber, Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief and Condé Nast Artistic Director Anna Wintour said that all publications housed under Condé Nast will no longer work with either photographer for the time being.

“I believe strongly in the value of remorse and forgiveness, but I take the allegations very seriously, and we at Condé Nast have decided to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future,” Wintour said in a statement.

They also released a new Code of Conduct for anyone working with or for Condé Nast.

READ: In The Name of #MeToo, Women Talk About Their Sexual Assaults

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

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

@policia / Twitter

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.

Deaf Students At A Catholic School In Argentina Are Telling Their Story Of Abuse And Neglect By Priests

Things That Matter

Deaf Students At A Catholic School In Argentina Are Telling Their Story Of Abuse And Neglect By Priests

Jon Tyson / Flickr

Justice may soon be on the horizon for as many as 20 victims who say they were sexually abused, including cases of rape, between 2004 and 2016. Priests Nicola Corradi, 83, Horacio Corbacho, 59 and a former gardener Armando Gomez, 49, are all facing charges of sexually abusing deaf children in their care. The shocking case has sent shock waves through Argentina’s society and the Catholic church. The terrible acts occurred at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza, a Catholic school for deaf children that was founded in 1995 and in which Corradi headed until his arrest in November 2016.

People in Argentina are looking for answers and are asking how this horrendous crime could have happened?

Credit: @revistasemana / Twitter

The two priests and gardener appeared in court Monday to face their long-awaited charges of sexual abuse. The three men face prison sentences of up to 20 years in some cases, up to 50 years in others. The trial, which is expected to last two months, will hear testimony from 13 victims who suffered negligence and abuse between the ages of four and 17, relating to 43 offenses.

News of the abuse at the school broke at the end of 2016 and created a huge scandal. The scandal grew when it became clear that Rev. Corradi was behind the charges. It has been reported that Corradi was accused of similar allegations at the Antonio Próvolo institute in Verona, Italy. Pope Francis, an Argentine, has since been notified that Corradi was behind both allegations but has yet to comment publicly despite on the matter despite his close affiliation. 

There has already been one sentencing in wake of the scandal. Jorge Bordón, an institute employee, was sentenced to 10 years in prison last year on charges of rape, sexual touching, and corrupting minors.

One of the victims has spoken up about his emotions going into the trial and his search for justice. 

Credit: @news1130 / Twitter

Ezequiel Villalonga,18, is one of the victims of the pedophile priests, says that he was preyed upon at the school as a minor. Villalonga is deaf which makes the case even more heartbreaking. Now, he’s getting the chance to tell his story as the trial goes to court.

“I think that everything in the Church is fake. Everything they made us read, recite, the way (they said) people should live,” Villalonga told the AP in sign language right before the start of the priests’ trial on Monday. “I think they lie and that they’re demonic.”

Villalonga was sent to the school when he was 4 years old after his mother found out her son was deaf when he was only seven months old. For many of those years at Provo, he was only allowed to go home on weekends and spent the majority of his days there inside a massive building with little to no contact. Despite the school’s specialized mission in helping deaf children, he didn’t teach him how to speak during his time there. It was until he was an adult he learned sign language. 

“Life there was terrible. We didn’t learn anything, we couldn’t speak to each other because we didn’t know sign language,” he said. “We would write without knowing what it said, and when we asked other classmates, no one understood anything.”

Things haven’t been easier for his mom, Natalia, who says her family has had to pause their lives due to the case and the horrors that have happened to her son. 

“I am super-nervous, anxious and I hope for justice; that this ends soon so my son can move on to a new stage because this is very hard,” said Natalia Villalonga told the Washington Post.

While the trial is just getting started, the trauma and disbelief for many of the young victims have gone on for too long.

Credit: @Crux / Twitter

Paola Gonzalez’s daughter, Milagros, who is now 16 years old, had been one of those 20 abused while attending the Institute. Gonzalez was shocked and angry when she found out what had happened to her daughter at what she considered at one point, a prestigious institution. 

“You should have seen her little body when she went into (the Provolo). She was so small,” Gonzalez told the AP. “I don’t understand, I can’t imagine such evil. How could they do so much harm to such a fragile creature?” 

READ: A Brazilian Gang Leader Thought He Could Use A ‘Scooby-Doo’ Tactic To Escape Prison

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