Ohio lawmakers try to protect victims of revenge porn

 

Ohio lawmakers are working on legislation that would protect victims of so-called revenge porn; the unauthorized posting of intimate photos on the internet.

Victims say the objective is to humiliate victims and in some cases, to profit from the posting of photos that were taken in private. Katelyn Bowden of Youngstown says her explicit photos turned up on-line when a thief stole her ex-boyfriend’s cell phone. Police even knew who took her phone.

“I was told the only thing that was illegal was the theft of my cellphone. The only crime committed was cellphone theft. My body didn’t matter. The cellphone had more rights than me,” Bowden said.

Bowden along with Belinda Berry founded BADASS or Battling Against Demeaning and Abusive Selfie-Sharing. It’s a grassroots organization aimed at helping victims of revenge porn.

Berry says she became a victim of revenge porn when she had taken photos with a professional photographer.

“Someone had taken them from his portfolio and started spreading them in a way that betrayed what the photo shoot meant to us, to work together,” she said.

State Senator Joe Schiavoni of Youngstown introduced legislation that would make posting explicit images with consent a criminal offense. He said his bill would also provide protection for victims against the loss of a job or a scholarship.

“It really does rip peoples hearts out and ruins their lives. There are young mothers that this happened to and now they have kids and 5 to10 years later, they’re on the internet and can see this stuff,” Schiavoni said.

38 states have specific laws against revenge porn. Ohio could soon become the 39th.

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