Revenge Porn

Author's Note: Word of advice, if you're searching through Google Images results of 'revenge porn' (if you choose to do so for serious articles, etc.), make sure you have safe search on or something similar because I was caught off guard and what I found left me disgusted. Learn from my mistakes. Anyhow, let's start.

 

What Is Revenge Porn?

Revenge Porn is defined as, the “distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent. This includes both images originally obtained without consent (e.g. by using hidden cameras, hacking phones, or recording sexual assaults) as well as images consensually obtained within the context of an intimate relationship” (cybercivilrights.org)

 

Why Is It a Big Deal?

With the great, big, and scary internet, photos and videos can be rapidly shared from site to site, until the victim can be eventually identified. This affects the victim's current and future intimate relationships, family relationships (Yeah, their parents and friends can see it... frightening, huh?), job opportunities (as well as losing their current job), etc. Victims are usually threatened, stalked, and harassed on the daily. This can be traumatizing to them, eliciting mental illness issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. Sadly, the combination of all of this can lead to suicide.

 

Who Are the Victims?

It can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, sexual orientation, etc.

 

How Common Is It?

In a 2017 Nationwide study, they found that one in eight, that’s right, one in eight (roughly 13%), of American social media users were victims of nonconsensual pornography. That is in America alone...Women are more likely to be victims, almost 1.7 times more likely than men.

 

 

What Is Being Done?

There are currently 38 states with laws against revenge porn. That is only 38 states in America and with one in eight users of social media being at risk being victimized, way more needs to be done. Other countries are implementing laws to accommodate the problem as well.

 

 

One Of the Biggest Known Cases of Revenge Porn Documented:

Reported by The New York Times, a female in California had explicit, sexual photographs and videos of her posted to all numerous websites, while also being impersonated by her former partner shortly after the relationship ended. Her ex-boyfriend threatened to make her life “so miserable she would want to kill herself." Strangers would send her unwanted explicit emails and texts, some even said they were on their way to her house; she was petrified (rightfully so). So in 2014, the female filed her case under “Jane Doe” to protect her identity and sued her former ex-boyfriend, David K. Elam II, in California’s district court in the United States. Four years went by and finally on April  4, “Jane Doe” was awarded $6.4 million by the court.

 

What Can You  Do If You Are a Victim or Someone You Know Has Been a Victim?
  • Report the non-consensual images to the social media platform to which they were posted to. Social media platforms (Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc)  have guidelines on how to report the images that violate their terms of service.

  • Screenshot the image and start to collect evidence of where the images and videos have been shared, the responses, and everything you can to document the negative impact this has had on your image to build your case up, in the if you want to take legal actions.

  • File a report with the police whether revenge porn is considered a crime in your state or not and whether you want to take legal action or not. Filing a report can be useful if things get out of hand. The sooner the better.

  • After the authorities get the information they need, you always have the option of hiring reputable takedown services that range in price annually so you can have a little more piece of mind since sharing and posting can spread like a wildfire and that is a lot to report for one person, or a few, and can be somewhat ineffective.  

 

And never forget you are never alone. There a plenty of resources to help you. You can find them from a Google search such as, “revenge porn victim, what should I do?” and more.

There are numerous crisis hotlines to help, such as the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative 844-878-CCRI (2274).

 

 

 

Sources:

Cyber Civil Rights; https://www.cybercivilrights.org/faqs/

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information; https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/01/what-do-if-youre-target-revenge-porn

Mashable; https://mashable.com/2017/07/06/revenge-porn-what-to-do-happens-to-you/

The New York Times; https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/us/revenge-porn-california.html

 

Pictures courtesy of Google Images