Obscene Exposure Offences & Defences NSW

Image credit: diy13

Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.


A TikTok user in the United States has had the police called to her home by her neighbour who reported her for “dressing inappropriately”.

Rovi Wade, who lives in Los Angeles, California posted a video to her TikTok social media account revealing the moment officers arrived at her home following reports from the occupant next door.

It is understood the neighbour made the complaint because the TikTok user was dressed in an obscene manner.

Ms Wade, however, believes she was being discriminated against.

In the video of the brief encounter, which was posted earlier in March 2021, Ms Wade can be seen speaking to a police officer, who does not come into the camera’s view as she films.

She can be heard telling the officer, “I am fully dressed, she just doesn’t like my style”.

“I told her, ‘My body offends you, that’s what the issue is’.

“I’m allowed to exist and be hot and I’m going to continue to do so.”

The comment was returned with a laugh from the officer.

Ms Wade added she did not know what her neighbour expected the police officers to do about her clothing.

Needless to say, that was the end of the issue and it remains unclear whether any action was taken.

Since the TikTok footage being uploaded, more than 12 million viewers have watched the video, while it has also received over three million likes.

Nevertheless, users of the social media platform have remained divided over the issue.

Indeed, some have commended Ms Wade’s confidence in the face of the alleged discrimination, leaving comments such as “her confidence as well as her insistence that she’s ‘allowed to exist and be hot’ already feels like a statement that belongs on all sorts of social-media-influenced merch” and, “Sis just became a global icon”.

Another user replied, “I am allowed to exist and be hot: the ONLY energy for 2021”.

On the other side of the debate, however, it was suggested by one user that, “the woman needs to be charged because God knows how many she’s endangered”.

All the while, another commenter simply wrote, “Of course, it would also be great if people would stop calling the police – seriously inconveniencing others in the best-case scenario – over things that just literally are not crimes or dangerous in any way”.


TikTok User Posts Photo of Outfit on Instagram to Clarify to Followers the Offending Outfit

In the aftermath of the incident, as per the request of Ms Wade’s social media followers, the online personality decided to upload a photo of herself on Instagram, revealing the offending outfit in full.

In the photo, Ms Wade can be seen dressed in a silver beaded crop top, ripped denim shorts, thigh-high boots with straps, and a chain belt around her waist that drops down to her thighs.

Around her neck, she is wearing a spiked dog collar.

“Dedicated to the Karen who called the cops on me for being too damn fine,” she captioned the photo.

“With peace and love.”

Ms Wade’s Instagram page shows the TikTok user in a variety of other vivid looks, including corsets, lace camisoles, long nails, whips, tiaras and lingerie.

Obscene Exposure Offences & Defences NSW

Obscene exposure refers to any kind of demeanour that is likely to offend or disrupt present-day standards of decency, as per the current standards held by citizens.

In line with the above, behaviour such as strolling around naked in your neighbourhood, or carrying out sexual activity in public, or streaking at sporting events, are generally considered offensive.

In some cases, wearing a thong to the beach has even been considered as disturbing the current standards held by the community.

In NSW, obscene exposure carry a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail, or a $1,100 fine, or both, which is reflected in section 5 of the Summary Offences Act 1988.

Specifically, section 5 makes clear that it is against the law for a person to, in, or within view from, a public place or a school, wilfully and obscenely expose him/herself.

Additionally, someone does not necessarily have to witness the act for it to be considered obscene exposure.

Furthermore, accidental exposure that was not intentional, such as wardrobe malfunctions, do not constitute obscene exposure.

A “public place” means a place (whether or not covered by water), or a part of premises, that is open to the public, or is used by the public whether or not on payment of money or other consideration, whether or not the place or part is ordinarily so open or used and whether or not the public to whom it is open consists only of a limited class of persons, but does not include a school.

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