Revenge Porn: Gradually Taking the Country by Storm

So imagine this:

You’re leisurely browsing the web on a Saturday afternoon to past the time. You begin to check your email and notice that your best friend as sent you message marked urgent. You open the message to find a link to an adult website with the instructions to click it and prepare to be shocked. You reluctantly click the link out of concern for what you are about to see. The link opens after a slight lag and, sure enough, you are indeed shocked at the images on the screen.

Staring right back at you are numerous images of yourself in clothing and positions that are definitely not for the public to see. In one picture you stare seductively into the camera as you show off that special outfit that sits in the bottom drawer waiting for even more special opportunities. In another, you stand confidently nude in a pose meant to show off all your assets for the camera. You go through each picture one by one in complete hysteria. You begin to think about all the ways these pictures could have possibly ended up here and you are left with only one conclusion.

Your last imitate partner was fond of asking for sexy photos. You obliged with the understanding that these pics would never be seen by others. The relationships continues, but eventually hits a bad spot. The relationship ends badly leaving resentment in your ex-partner’s heart. Unbeknownst to you at the time, your ex has a vengeful streak and has decided to exact revenge on you for ending things. Your ex has uploaded your nude pics to multiple adult websites and even went as far as to email links to mutual friends in order to further your humiliation. You immediately call the police in order to seek action against this maniac only to be dismissed on the basis of no actual laws being broken. Your ex remains unpunished despite the public shaming you have to endure.

Situations like this are what these women have had to endure in this article entitled,
“‘Revenge porn’ victims press for new laws.” Here’s an excerpt that describes this growing phenomena:

It’s called “revenge porn,” and it’s legal in every state but California and New Jersey. A person shares a sexually explicit photo or video with a partner, only to see those images pop up online months or even years later — typically after a bad breakup. The images are often tied to the person’s name, address and phone number. And in a particularly disturbing twist, some of the sites appear to be running side businesses offering “reputation protection services”: Dump $500 into a PayPal account and maybe they will take down your photo.

Numerous victims, by far mostly women, are having their lives turned upside down thanks to the vindictive nature of their partners. As we have talked about before, this growing fad directly addresses our concern of women’s bodies no longer becoming theirs, but objects for the pleasure of men. Unfortunately, our laws across the country have not caught on and haven’t placed adequate legislation to protect current and future victims. The article talks about the growing battle to change this issue, but I wonder why can’t states simple do what California and New Jersey did and make the practice illegal? Is it really more complicated than that or am I missing something here?

smiley-question-face

My Confused Face

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2 thoughts on “Revenge Porn: Gradually Taking the Country by Storm

  1. We had a discussion about this in my gender law & policy class a few weeks ago – I think one of the problems when it comes to legislating this type of thing is there is actually a huge stream of public opinion that slut shames the people whose ex-partners circulate such images – basically, the “well, s/he asked for it by posing for such photographs” type of thing.

    From a legislative point of view, my professor said that the most successful approach for prosecuting the perpetuators of such images is to incorporate these cases into current stalking laws. Given that many of the folks who perpetuate this kind of thing are also sending the links to such photos to current work colleagues, family, etc of the person depicted, such behavior falls into the current legal definition of stalking (which is classified as “a repetitive pattern of unwanted, harassing or threatening behavior committed by one person against another”). But the problem here is that each state has their own slightly different stalking laws, so it’s not really a solution that will benefit all survivors of such behavior. In any case, the fact that CA and NJ have passed specific legislation against revenge porn is promising, but in an ideal world, there would be a federal law as well as state laws prohibiting it.

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