Archive for: October, 2013

Victims of revenge porn deserve real protection

A lot of people know my story. Nobody has to ask me how I got where I am, because my business is posted all over the internet.

My ex-boyfriend was the first one to put me out there, exposing me in my most intimate moments. He did it for control. He did it for revenge. He did it for whatever reasons perpetrators normally have for stalking, harassing, and violating others.

At no point was I allowed to escape and move on. The internet made it possible for my ex and strangers to reach into my life, no matter where I was, and destroy everything I was trying to build. And nobody was willing to stop him.

I was the second person to put myself out there. When I couldn’t stand hiding anymore, having changed my name and lived in fear for years, I took back control of my life. I took it back by saying:

Yes that’s me in those pictures, in that video, and I am not ashamed. I have a right to live my life and not be afraid.

That was the birth of End Revenge Porn, which turned into the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI). Every step in building CCRI has been a learning experience, both in the logistics of starting an organization and in how a movement takes on a life of its own.

We have barely begun, but we find ourselves buoyed by overwhelming support, even as we receive a stream of hateful messages from strangers. This is a culture war, but it is one I have faith we will win, perhaps more quickly than our opposition expects.

California’s SB255 “revenge porn law”, signed into effect by Governor Jerry Brown late last week, was a bittersweet victory for us. Finally, lawmakers and the public acknowledged revenge porn as a problem to be solved.

But that acknowledgement was tainted by the attitude that no matter how reprehensible the actions of perpetrators, the victims somehow deserved what they got. To be told that victims like me were too “stupid” to be provided the protection of the law, and to have that attitude written into the law was crushing. People who have taken pictures of themselves in their most private moments, and shared them as part of an intimate relationship with one person, will find no protection in California. For the moment.

CCRI has been successful so far because I don’t just see the gaping holes in our legal system; I experience them firsthand. On Thursday, I received word that the criminal case against my ex is being dismissed. The police told me that they were able to link the IP address from his house to the postings. However, without a warrant to prove he was the one sitting behind the computer committing the crime, which could only be obtained if his crime was a felony, they have nothing.

Not only do we need strong, comprehensive laws on the books, we need them to be felonies so that law enforcement will be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the perpetrator is the one behind the postings. Other states will pass laws, and California will strengthen its law because this issue will only grow.

As victims continue to suffer the physical and psychological fallout of this violation, the public will demand action. The purpose of CCRI and the End Revenge Porn campaign, beyond supporting victims, is to speed the public to that conclusion by making people acknowledge the suffering of those victims.

Victims of revenge porn deserve real protection – The Guardian
https://news.google.com/news/feeds?hl=en&gl=us&authuser=0&q=revenge+porn&um=1&ie=UTF-8&output=rss
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

Millennials deal with consequences of revenge porn

As Millennials become increasingly tech-reliant in all facets of life — including relationships — some are facing unfortunate consequences.

Three out of four college students will be in a long-distance relationship at some point before graduation, according to a study in the Journal of Communication. Sending nude photos to a partner may be one way to maintain the passion.

In fact, a 2011 University of Rhode Island study found that 56% percent of students had received “sexually suggestive images.”

But what happens when a relationship dissolves and a heartbroken ex has a library of nude photos of their former partner?

For some, the answer is “revenge porn,” or posting someone’s sexually explicit image online without their consent.

The action is legal in 48 states — excluding New Jersey and recently, California — and protected under one’s First Amendment rights.

Holly Jacobs, a revenge-porn victim and founder of EndRevengePorn.com, says that this issue uniquely affects Gen Y.

“I would venture to say that most victims that contact me are of the college age,” says Jacobs, who found herself on a revenge porn site as a grad student at Florida International University in 2009. “It’s the Millennials who have grown up with technology and have integrated it into their lives.”

On Tuesday, the governor of California approved the criminalization of revenge porn. “Distributing private images with the intent to harass or annoy” may be punished by up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine on a first offense.

However, the statute does not protect victims who took the photos themselves, a group that makes up 80% of revenge porn victims according to a survey by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. The law applies only to images that were captured by someone without knowledge or consent of the victim.

Former revenge porn mogul Hunter Moore told tech publication The Register that he doesn’t think the government can stand in the way of websites like the one he started in 2010 — the now-defunct IsAnyoneUp.com.

“This doesn’t stop anything. If you read the bill it is just for peeping toms, not for selfies, which is all revenge porn really is,” he told the Register. “These stupid old white people are even more stupid to think they can stop it … It will just make revenge porn bigger by driving traffic, because people are talking about it.”

Moore added that the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is still in place, a law that protects owners of interactive websites from responsibility for content their users post.

As a victim, Jacobs points out that the California law also specifies a motive — emotional distress of the victim — that can be difficult to prove in court.

“Sometimes people post [revenge porn] to gain acceptance or notoriety on the internet, or even just to make money,” she says, explaining that a victim who initially consented to being photographed would have to prove she was emotionally distressed to win her case.

Gene Policinski, senior vice president of the First Amendment Center, says that civil lawsuits are one option for victims, although they can cause embarrassment and financial burdens.

He added that while California’s recent legislation indicates that the law is catching up with technological advances, lawmakers should be careful not to trample on First Amendment rights.

“Citizens have a right to be concerned anytime a government moves to restrain or punish speech, even if it’s repugnant,” he says. “What may be repugnant to one may not be to another.”

Meeghan Falls, a former Lamar University student, would not have been protected under a law like California’s.

Within a two-year relationship, Falls says she sent countless sexually explicit photos to her boyfriend at the time, a fellow Lamar student.

“After a year and half, you think, ‘I’m going to be with this guy forever,'” says Falls, now 21. “I didn’t have any problems sending these kinds of photos to him.”

The couple eventually split, and about two months later, Falls says she received a Facebook message from a stranger informing her that her photos and other identifying information were on a revenge porn site.

“My stomach dropped. I started shaking. I started crying immediately,” she says. “I felt like the whole world had seen me naked.”

Falls says she is currently in a civil lawsuit against her ex that includes three other women whose images he distributed on revenge porn sites.

Jacobs says that in a world where technology and sexuality overlap so heavily, she rejects the notion that preventing revenge porn means abstaining from taking sexual images.

“When people say that, it’s absolutely another version of blaming the victim. It’s the same thing as someone telling someone who’s been physically raped that they shouldn’t have been wearing that skirt,” she says, adding that she hopes to see further state and federal legislation.

Falls says telling her story is difficult, but she hopes it can prevent her experience from happening to someone else.

“I trusted this man … foolishly, but I trusted this man to keep [the photos] private, confidential,” she says. “As long as we can stop other girls from doing this and having this done to them, as long as something positive can come out of this, it would be just wonderful.”

Falls, who is now engaged to be married, says the betrayal she experienced hasn’t made her cynical.

“I don’t want people to think that they shouldn’t trust anyone, but just be careful who you do trust,” she says. “Make sure they’re worthy of it.”

Millennials deal with consequences of ‘revenge porn’ – USA TODAY
https://news.google.com/news/feeds?hl=en&gl=us&authuser=0&q=revenge+porn&um=1&ie=UTF-8&output=rss
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest