The U.S. Department of Defense is investigating an massive military scandal encompassing hundreds of servicemen accused of sharing naked photos of current and former women service members, Business Insider reports.
The investigation began when it was first discovered that hundreds of Marines used a private Facebook group to share naked photos of their colleagues, ABC News reported.
The photos were shared on a secret Facebook page, “Marines United.” The nearly 30,000 member Facebook group posted photos on the page, including the names and locations of at least two dozen women pictured, according to the news website Reveal. Along with photos, dozens of obscene and sexist comments appeared on the page.
According to Reveal, the photo sharing began less than a month after the first Marine unit was assigned women. The page has since been removed due to the government investigation. Dozens of Google Drive folders were also linked to the Facebook page, featuring images of women containing their names, military branches, nude photographs and social media accounts that have since been deleted.
On Friday, it was discovered that the scandal goes far beyond the Marine Corps and a single Facebook group. An image-sharing website called AnonIB has also been used as a site for military personnel from every military branch to ask for and receive naked photos of specific female service members, according to Business Insider.
The military, which has been criticized for failing to handle sexual harassment and abuse within the ranks in the past, needs to take steps to ensure that these disgusting incidents don’t ever happen again. Although many of these photos may have originally been consensual or taken by the women themselves, it was NOT okay for these men to share them without permission. Clearly, a culture exists within the military that allows these kind of events to take place—and that problem needs to be addressed right now.