Revenge Porn


 

 

Doing the Dirty on an Ex

‘Alex’ was at university when she split up with her boyfriend who was in the army. They had lived together, and she trusted him fully, but after their break-up she logged onto Facebook one day to find he had posted 21 naked photos of her.

She reported it immediately to Facebook and they were taken down, but it was too late – the pictures had been uploaded onto a popular revenge porn website and were all over the internet.

The photos had been uploaded along with Alex’s full name and personal details, and from there they spiralled onto multiple porn websites, gathering views, comments and abuse.

A quick Google search of her name brought up all of the images – which had been uploaded onto amateur porn sites and even made into a calendar. She was devastated future employers would see them and her life would be ruined by this one act.

Legally, the websites had no incentive to take the pictures down. Posting naked pictures of someone is not illegal unless the person is below the age of 18 or it breaches copyright law. Otherwise, revenge porn websites are legally entitled to operate as they do.

She decided that must change. The final year law student has begun a campaign called ‘Ban Revenge Porn’, pushing the government to legislate to recognise revenge porn as a sexual crime. At the moment it can only be challenged by civil claims such as those mentioned above.

She was irritated that for something that was affecting her life all she could use was copyright law. The fact is that websites don’t care about civil claims so she wants to make it criminal. They make themselves un-contactable and they don’t log the IP addresses of people who upload pictures.

It should be encrypted into an act about privacy online, or in the sexual offenders act of sexual harassment act. The idea is that the effect it has on our lives should be recognised.

Some of these sites have over 20,000 people going through them every day and photos can amass thousands of views in mere hours. Once these photos are online it is close to impossible to have them permanently removed as they are featured on so many sites.

Not only do victims have to come to terms with the fact that they will essentially be accessible for the foreseeable future, but they have no way of seeking justice from the malicious person that put them there.

The violation of dignity, degradation and humiliation suffered by the victim needs to be recognised as a sexual assault and a harassment of a sexual nature.

The websites don’t care – they call themselves revenge jedis. It’s this weird sort of community where they have the sort of abuse I can’t repeat. It can really ruin people’s lives. Future employers may Google victims and see all the pictures.

One can’t be sure how many people are affected by revenge porn. Everyone I have spoken to is aware of it happening. It’s a larger problem. It’s a difficult one to gauge because people don’t always like talking about it. It’s the ultimate ‘slut-shaming’.

Alex’s pictures were eventually removed from the internet, although she was forced to do it alone. Alex contacted the police after the incident but was dismissed by them. They said she should have been more careful and made her feel like it wasn’t really worth it.

Instead of relying on the police, She appealed to every porn website to remove the pictures on compassionate grounds, as Alex was a victim of revenge pornography.

Most of them removed the pictures, as they had picked them up from the original site, but it was that very website which was the hardest to fight.

The site did not respond to any of her appeals, so she contacted their web server, quoting the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The photos were eventually removed, but now Robertson is fighting not just for her friend, but for every girl affected by revenge porn.

People said she should have acted responsibly but because you put yourself in a vulnerable situation it doesn’t mean you should find yourself in that position.

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