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Young Italian woman Tiziana Cantone kills herself after friends betrayed her confidence: Tragedy of a woman destroyed by viral sex videos – Was this a case of revenge porn?

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Italy’s Tiziana Cantone lost the will to live after the public humiliation of viral sex videos
Tiziana Cantone, 31, allegedly committed suicide, after sex videos she sent to five trusted friends via WhatsApp in April 2015, went viral
The videos showed Tiziana from Mugnano in Naples, Italy performing sex acts with a number of unidentified men 
The tapes were shared and uploaded to several adult websites with no one admitting they posted the material
One of the recipients, her ex-boyfriend Sergio Di Palo, was flagged and questioned as a suspect, but has denied any implication 
A single sentence stood out from Cantone’s appearance in the tapes
“You’re making a video?” she asked the man holding the camera, “Bravo!”, giving the impression she was accepting of public voyeurism without consent 
By the time the courts ruled the tapes be taken down, Tiziana realized she was no longer able to live a normal life
“She understood at some point that the situation would never be resolved; that a potential husband, her potential children could find those videos; that they would never disappear” – Mother, Maria Theresa Giglio 
Giglio alleges her daughter’s tragedy was caused by revenge porn and points to Di Palo, but no one is talking and proof is hard to come by
 Tiziana Cantone [left] and her mother, Maria Teresa Giglio3.jpgTiziana Cantone and her mom Maria Teresa Giglio who said: ‘I just want justice for my daughter.’  She is now devoting her life to defending her daughter’s name

In April 2015, 31-year-old Tiziana Cantone from Mugnano, on the outskirts of Naples, Italy sent a series of sex videos to five people via WhatsApp. The recipients included her boyfriend Sergio Di Palo, with whom she had an unstable relationship.
The videos showed her performing sex acts with a number of unidentified men.
The tapes were soon shared and uploaded to several adult websites. The physical actions on the tapes did not stand out. But a single sentence from Tiziana Cantone did.
“You’re making a video?” she asked the man holding the camera. “Bravo!”
The unfortunate sequence of events suggested an uninhibited young woman, who enjoyed being filmed during sex. Poignantly, by accident, the phrase gave viewers licence to watch the video without reservations: if she was so happy to be filmed, she wouldn’t mind them watching.
It has been reported that Italians did more than watch the tapes. Users soon turned her comment into a meme-worthy punchline. Her image appeared on t-shirts and parody websites, with no one bothering about the consequential collateral damage to the subject herself. But this was a profound misunderstanding of the burden it placed on her fragile psyche.
“She was beautiful but fragile,” remembers Teresa Petrosino, a friend for 15 years. “She was with the wrong people at the wrong time.”

 Tiziana Cantone's mother, Maria Teresa Giglio1.jpg
Tiziana Cantone’s mother, Maria Teresa Giglio, remembers her as beautiful but vulnerable

“People confuse being an uninhibited person with wanting to go viral,” says social commentator Selvaggia Lucarelli.
“You can film a video, share it with some people but there’s a tacit agreement that you won’t share it further.”
Tiziana Cantone, a fragile woman, was horrified.
“She and I never actually spoke about the details of the video,” says her friend Teresa. “I never saw them, and I never want to see them. You could tell she was suffering a lot. But she was strong.”
When she decided to fight back, Tiziana Cantone ultimately realized was no immediate way to get the videos taken down, and no mitigating the long term damage
She took the case to court, arguing the tapes were uploaded to public sites without her consent. But by this time, she was no longer able to live a normal life.
“She didn’t want to go out as people would recognise her. She realised that the virtual world and the real world were the same thing,” Teresa explains.
“She understood at some point that the situation would never be resolved; that a potential husband, her potential children could find those videos; that they would never disappear.”

funeral-for-tiziana-cantone-who-killed-herself-after-a-video-of-her-performing-a-sex-acts-was-posted-online-and-adult-websites2Tiziana’s death was widely seen as a tragedy in Italy and her funeral was widely covered by sympathetic media

Tiziana Cantone retreated to her family home in a quiet street in Mugnano, a working-class suburb of Naples. It took her mother, Maria Teresa Giglio, weeks to find the strength to tell reporters about her daughter’s life.
“My daughter was a good girl but she was also vulnerable,” she said “She lacked a paternal figure, from birth. She never met her father. This affected her entire life.”
Mother and daughter lived together.
In happier times, Tiziana listened to Italian singers, read novels and played the piano. But after the intimate videos were shared online, she withdrew.
“Her life was ruined, in front of everyone,” says her mother. “People made fun of her, parodies ended up on pornographic websites. She was called shameful names.”
In September, a court in Naples ordered the intimate videos to be removed from several websites and search engines. But the court also ordered her to pay  $21,600 in legal costs, which was overwhelming for the litigant.
 Tiziana Cantone3.jpg
According to Maria Teresa Giglio, on 13 September 2016, her daughter stayed at home, while she went to work at the local town hall. Then she received a phone call at work.
“My sister-in-law called me, and in a calm voice told me to come home; when I got here I saw the police, the ambulance, and I quickly understood,” she says, breaking down.
“My sister-in-law tried to pick her up and save her. My neighbours didn’t allow me to get out of my car. I almost fainted. They didn’t want to let me into this house. I wasn’t even able to see her for a last time.
“The day she died, my life ended.”
One day later, Maria Teresa Giglio buried her daughter in a white coffin. The notice outside the funeral described her as a “sweet, beautiful, fragile angel”.

funeral for Tiziana Cantone who killed herself after a video of her performing a sex acts was posted online and adult websites.jpg
Tiziana’s tragic suicide ironically she drew even more attention to the videos she hoped everyone might forget. to better understand the depth of her daughter’s anguish, even her own mother forced herself to watch the tapes. But it has changed the tone of public discuss on sex and privacy laws in Italy, especially among law makers.
“You can only imagine what it is like. I wanted to see details that would allow me to understand the truth. That was not my Tiziana,” she says, convinced that her daughter was under the effect of drugs.
She believes that the distribution of the videos didn’t happen by chance.
“It’s as if this was a premeditated, criminal plan. They just wanted to show the face of this poor girl, with the intention of exposing her on the internet.”
In particular, Giglio wants her daughter’s former boyfriend, Sergio Di Palo, to explain exactly what role he played in the upload of the videos.
“He didn’t help me to save her life. But maybe he can help me get to the truth. I’m desperate.

Tiziana Cantone2.jpg
Tiziana Cantone – beautiful, sensitive but impulsive young life snuffed out by the thoughtless and still anonymous actions of people she trusted

In November 2016, prosecutors questioned Mr Di Palo for 10 hours. They wanted to know whether anyone was guilty of inciting Tiziana’s suicide. Mr Di Palo denied any involvement in the distribution or sharing of the material.
“We refrain from making comments, out of respect for poor Tiziana who suffered so much due to the enormous publicity that her case received,” says Bruno Larosa, Di Palo’s attorney. “We trust the courts and it should be noted that my client is not accused of anything.”
In the aftermath of Tiziana Cantone’s suicide, the tone of Italy’s debate about pornography and privacy has changed.
“I think this case did make a difference, quite drastically, to the way that Italian journalists talk about these cases of revenge porn,” says social commentator Selvaggia Lucarelli.
“They used to have a very carefree approach, and her death changed it. In subsequent cases, one of them involving a celebrity, they were a lot more cautious.”
But there is also a lesson for anyone who chooses to share intimate videos online.
“People think that their virtual life and their real life are parallel realities,” warns Ms Lucarelli. “They’re not. They coincide. The web is our life. So anything that you don’t do in real life you shouldn’t do online.”

tiziana-cantone-right-and-her-mother-maria-teresa-giglio2Maria Theresa [seen in photo] held up by loved ones at her daughter’s funeral service. She would like to see Tiziana’s legacy help other women in futureMaria Teresa Giglio4.jpg

Tiziana’s videos can no longer be found on the main search engines but they still exist.
Maria Theresa wants Italy and the rest of the EU to agree a much faster way to get private material removed from the internet and make the big internet firms act responsibly. She is devoting her life is now a fight to defend her daughter’s name, and to prevent others from suffering the same fate.
“I hope that the name Tiziana Cantone, instead of standing for mockery, becomes a name that could save the lives of other women. I would like this to happen. To save other people.”
“I speak on behalf of other mothers who may be suffering like me,” she says.
Italy’s privacy tsar, Antonello Soro, agrees things have to change but does not specify what the government might do.
“We need a quicker response mechanism from different online platforms, but it is also necessary to increase respect online,” he said in a statement. “We need strong investment in digital education to promote a culture and sensibility that are adequate to the new online world.”

 

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