5 Important Things You Should Know About Revenge Porn

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS NUDITY.

2015 has proven itself to be a monumental year for the criminalization of revenge porn in the United States–and it isn’t even spring yet. Here are the 5 most important things you should know about it so far.

1. What revenge porn is

Revenge porn websites circulate and distribute sexually explicit images of individuals online without their consent. These images are typically submitted to these websites by vengeful ex-romantic partners or spouses in an effort to harm the reputations of their former lovers.

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(1/2) Findings on revenge porn posted by the End Revenge Porn Campaign’s Tumblr Page.

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(2/2) Findings on revenge porn posted by the End Revenge Porn Campaign’s Tumblr Page.

2. Is Revenge Porn Illegal In Your State?

According to New Republic, 16 States have passed bills that outlaw revenge porn in some way. At least 14 states have introduced bills that seek to do the same, the most recent of which is Oregon in early February, where senators made a unanimous decision to approve a revenge porn bill. It seems, for the most part, these efforts are being met with little resistance. The Washington state’s House of Representatives passed a similar bill a few days ago with unanimous approval.

These are the states that have some form of revenge porn laws in place so far:

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin.

3. The End Revenge Porn Campaign

Holly Smith, founder of End Revenge Porn (the largest group advocating for the ban of the practice), seeks to criminalize the practice on a federal level. Her group has been sharing effective drafts of these laws with legislators willing to sponsor their efforts. According to End Revenge Porn, over 90% of victims are women.

Holly Smith is a victim of revenge porn herself. Smith sought out legal help after her reputation was tarnished by someone who posted sexual images of her online. Once she discovered there were no laws in place to protect her, she started the campaign.

Her website has since become a hub for victims of revenge porn as well as allies that are supporting the cause to make it illegal in the United States and around the world.

4. Social Activist Emma Holten’s Bold Response To Revenge Porn

Emma Holten is another victim of revenge porn. After she was humiliated by her perpetrator, she decided to fight back by sharing nude photos of herself on her own terms. 

Emma Holten in a consensual photograph.

“I get why people think that this is counter-intuitive, but I disagree,” says Holten in a video by The Guardian. “Consent is key. I did this. Just as rape and sex have nothing to do with each other, pictures shared with and without this consent are completely different things.”

Holten intentionally went for a more casual, less sexual approach to her photoshoot to avoid objectification, a common occurrence for women in media.

However, based on the response in the comment’s section of Holten’s video, it seems many feel Holten and victims like her are to blame:

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5. The Faces Of Revenge Porn

For a long time there have been astounding lucrative gains for operators of revenge porn websites.

Hunter Moore, former operator of revenge porn website isanyoneup.com, created his website so he could share sexually explicit photos with his friends of a woman he had sex with. Once his friends started sharing their own photos on the same domain, the website’s model was born. Eventually, isanyoneup.com started picking up momentum, garnering upwards to 30 million page views a month, which sometimes earned him a reported $30,000 a month. He is considered “The Most Hated Man On The Internet” by Rolling Stone for being something of a cyber version of a sex trafficker. Moore’s website included private information alongside his victim’s images such as their social media account, full name, and hometown. Furthermore, Moore paid somebody to steal private images and information from individuals by hacking their e-mail accounts.

Moore was arrested in mid-January and charged with identity theft and conspiracy among other charges. He can be sentenced for up to 5 years in prison.

Other infamous operators of these websites have also faced legal trouble during the past couple months such as Kevin Bollaert, founder of ugotposted.com and Craig Brittain, who created isanyonedown.com inspired by Moore’s website. Both of these men faced multiple charges including extortion for having charged victims between $200 and $500 to have their images removed.

Their websites have since been shut down. An apology letter written by Brittain can be found on isanyonedown.com:

“Before I get started,

I want to apologize to those who were affected by Is Anybody Down?. I made a series of poor decisions, then tried to rationalize them, and made it even worse. I am sorry for the damage that I caused to everyone that ended up on my website. I am making amends at every opportunity. I regularly volunteer for, and donate to charitable organizations (I encourage you to do the same!).

I ask for your forgiveness. What I did was wrong.”

Brittain’s letter is followed by 49 points that seek to plead his humanity and explain why he is innocent by law.

 

For more information visit endrevengeporn.org.

 

 

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One response to “5 Important Things You Should Know About Revenge Porn

  1. Pingback: Sexting: Private Pleasure, Public Spectacle·

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