Savannah Cunningham: Naked ‘Marines United’ Facebook Video Gets Instagram Reply

Savannah Cunningham: Naked 'Marines United' Facebook Video Gets Instagram Reply

Savannah Cunningham is not letting the fact that her naked video was spread across the “Marines United” Facebook group stop her from realizing her dream of becoming a Marine. According to the New York Times, Savannah began having trouble as a result of the “Marines United” Facebook group months ago, when Cunningham started getting nasty messages online. Savannah discovered that the lewd messages from men were because of a naked video of Cunningham that had been circulating via the “Marines United” Facebook group.

Savannah plans to start her basic training in April with the Marines, but months prior, Cunningham was fielding questions and racy messages about her naked video. Each time the naked video of Savannah would resurface, along with the 19-year-old’s name, Cunningham found new obscene messages coming to her. The nude video was obtained from Savannah’s ex-boyfriend, and other photos were taken from Cunningham’s Instagram account.

However, Savannah is using that same platform, her Instagram account, to take back her power and to express how she feels by taking a stand from her hometown of Phoenix and fighting against anyone trying to silence her. As seen in the following Instagram post, Cunningham explained why she decided to take a stand against the “Marines United” Facebook group and come forward as a woman whose ex-boyfriend participated in the “disgusting exploitation” of a naked video that Savannah said she took for him in private. Cunningham believed the video would remain private forever, not spread over Facebook.

Hundreds of Marines, mostly on active duty, are currently under investigation for circulating photos & videos of semi-naked/naked fellow female Marines (and other women), without their consent. These Marines, were part of a Facebook group called Marines United (30,000 MEN strong), who not only subjected these women to embarrassment, sexual objectification, and horribly disgusting sexual commentary but also posted plans for stalking and harassing the women in those photos/videos. I am one of those women. Two days ago I agreed to do an interview w/ the New York Times on the issue. I decided to speak out against the disgusting exploitation of something I took for an ex-boyfriend in private. Something I thought would remain private forever. Ever since this scandal came into the light I'd been going back & forth with myself…deciding whether I should remain quiet and avoid any kind of controversy or if I should speak up and have a voice. After all…I'm only a Poolee in the USMC's Delayed Entry Program, I am NOT a Marine yet. Why the HELL would I want to draw any more negative attention to myself? Especially before boot camp. Well let me tell you, after a few days of painstaking deliberation, I DECIDED TO TAKE A STAND. If not for me then for the future generations of Marines (both male and female). Hopefully Corps makes clear that this kind of behavior isn't a joke or a normal part of building cohesion but a weakness – and a betrayal of the core values of honor, courage, and commitment. Before the article is released online this evening and in paper tomorrow morning I want whoever is reading this to know. That 1. I am absolutely not doing this for attention, who the HELL wants to admit that their private photos were shared online on a google drive w/ hundreds of other women associated with the military?! 2. I hope that because I'm coming forward that more victims of this sexual harassment feel that they're not alone and come forward as well 3. That this issue does not define me. It does not define the Marine Corps. I still and always will be passionate about serving my country one day as a United States Marine. I leave April 3rd on my 20th birthday. Bring it.????????

A post shared by Savannah Cunningham (@savannah_cunningham) on

Savannah called the act of her naked video being spread around the “Marines United” Facebook group and elsewhere online a “creepy” act.

“It was such a creepy invasion of privacy. They were actively seeking nude images of me, anything they could get their hands on. Someone needs to stand up and say this does not represent the values of the Marine Corps. If not me, then who? Yes, for a long time it was a boys’ club, but there needs to be progress.”

Despite the brouhaha, Cunningham still plans to join the Marines.

I will NEVER let them dim my light

A post shared by Savannah Cunningham (@savannah_cunningham) on

The unveiling of the “Marines United” Facebook group brought to light some sexist viewpoints and actions being taken against female Marines, which is being referred to as the cyber-bullying of women in the Marines.

"Harassed Online, She Remains Determined to Enlist in the Marines." #NewYorkTimes This was both extremely hard but also very important for me to share – I will put the link to the article in my bio. They got a few things a bit wrong and I would've liked for them to include a lot of what I said but the gist of it is there. I hope that because I'm coming forward that more victims of this sexual harassment feel that they're not alone and come forward as well. Again, this issue does not define me. It does not define the Marine Corps. There are so many AMAZING male Marines out there with a sense of honor and I hate that so many will now have the reputation of a shameful & disgusting few. Let us change that reputation. Together. PC: @caitlin_oh – thank you

A post shared by Savannah Cunningham (@savannah_cunningham) on

It’s also being called a symptom of a bigger problem, especially in light of the fact that the shutting down of the “Marines United” Facebook group has resulted in “Marines United 2.0” (or “MU 2.0”) popping up. When “Marines United 2.0” emerged, “MU 3.0” (or “Marines United 3.0”) sprang up on Facebook.

Do you ever sit in heavy traffic/airports and think about how easy life would get if another plague hit????????? #eyebrowsgonewild #camellickedthebackofmyhead #imkidding #sorta #idontlikeslowwalkers SO EXCITED TO SEE MAH LOVE????

A post shared by Savannah Cunningham (@savannah_cunningham) on

Some of the “Marines United” Facebook group members appear to show little regret, according to the New York Times. Especially since some of the “Marines United” photos of naked Marines have appeared on other websites next to photos of the Marines in uniform. About 55 Marines have been reported by name to investigators, states the publication, and some include officers ranked as high as lieutenant colonel.

According to the New York Times, some Marines took photos of women in the bathrooms on a ship. It’s those kinds of actions that need to be fought. A fundraiser called “Female Marines United” was set up for people who wanted to oppose the actions of “Marines United” on Facebook.

Cunningham, meanwhile, has fought back by attempting to become the best Marine possible. She’s been training for two years, and while she couldn’t do one single pull-up before, now she can perform 14 in a row.

“I wanted to make sure I could do anything male Marines could. I didn’t want anyone to hold me to a lower standard.”

About the naked video, Cunningham explained it was something she wouldn’t normally do and described it as a nude striptease video she did for the person she once loved to try and “keep a relationship alive.”

[Featured Image by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]