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.
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.
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.
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.
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]