“Sharking” is proliferating in Mexico

American journalist Andrea Noel was the first high-profile victim of this practice.

In March a man lifted the skirt and pull down the underwear of Andrea Noel in Condesa neighborhood in Mexico City. (Photo: Special)
English 30/05/2016 12:29 Actualizada 12:29
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By Luis Chaparro

The answer about who and why a man decided to lift the skirt and pull down the underwear of American journalist Andrea Noel in Condesa neighborhood in Mexico City could lay in a porn site.

The attack suffered by Noel in March has a name on the internet: sharking. It is the practice of stalking a woman on the street -normally wearing a skirt or dress- sneak up to her, lift her skirt to pull down her underwear, record everything on video and then upload it to porn sites.

This practice began in Japan about 10 years ago and it became very popular. According to users and victims, it is gaining popularity in Mexico, and the first well-known victim was Noel.

In at least two internet forums detected by this newspaper users ask questions about this practice.

"Has anyone been victim of sharking? It happened to me recently, someone pulled my underwear down on the street and a friend told me it was called sharking, which makes me think it is happening in Mexico,” one of the users wrote.

Victims also seek answers on Twitter: "#Sharking, any victims of this? It has happened to many girls.” Others use the hashtag to share GIFS of victims.

Secret videos are also recorded in public toilets, dressing rooms, the subway, grocery stores and avenues.

In one of the sites the user descarado1986 has uploaded 35 videos recorded at three locations: a record store, a public bathroom and a dressing room. The title of his videos specifies the place: "WC Mexico", "Upskirt Mexico" or "Dressing room Mexico." The user has been active for three years and his videos have more than 10,000 views.

In another porn site there are over 100 videos entitled "metro del DF" or "Metro df" with small clips recorded under their skirts of women without their consent. Each of these videos has 140,000 views on average.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Noel said that she has heard about the practice and acknowledged that this could have been the intention behind the attack against her.

"A friend sent me a bunch of sharking videos on the streets, another kind of porn, and this might as well have been the case, but I don't know for sure so far," she said.

Andrea explained that what happened to her, like everything circulating on porn sites, has to do with the culture of illegality.

“If I find my video on a porn site or a victim recognizes herself in a video, what can you do? Nothing," said Noel in a telephone interview from the United States, her new home after she received death threats at her doorstep in Mexico City for denouncing the abuse.

Noel says that she has not been able to obtain the videos of the security cameras to identify her attacker, and that they are simply collected as evidence instead of analyzing them to find the culprit.

According to the Coordination for the Prevention of Electronic Crimes, part of the Scientific Division of the Federal Police, a complaint must be filed before the Public Prosecutor to prosecute offenders.

However, since most porn sites are hosted abroad, these companies would need to accept to cooperate with authorities. Moreover, the prosecutor requires digital proofing, which in the case of vouyer pornography is almost impossible to obtain.

Sharking attacks can be reported on the telephone number 088 and the Twitter account @CEAC_CNS, or by e-mail: [email protected].

The forum VoyeurAzteca has a special category of videos taken under the skirt of women in Mexico. Victims appear in public toilets and transportation, avenues and secondary schools, which means they are under 18.

One of the most active users on the forum, who asked to be called “Misterio”, told EL UNIVERSAL that his favorite sites to record videos are “women's clothing stores, such as Mango, Zara, because the women that buy there are always good looking.”

Another of his favorite places is the bus. "I put my backpack with the camera next to the handrail and I sit in the first row, so when the girls climb the stairs the cam records everything.”

The forum has more than 200,000 users and has been active since 2007.

This year, Mexico was ranked among the 10 countries that watch more pornography in the world. According to a recent Pornhub report, Mexico City inhabitants spend 9:14 minutes in average on the porn site, especially from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

The most popular categories are “teachers”, “big asses” and “Mexican”.


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