How to deal with Revenge Porn…

There is a GREAT article in the November 2013 edition of Cosmopolitan about women who have been the victim of revenge porn, how to respond to it personally and what is being done on a national level to deal with this.  This is a must read article for anyone/any woman who has ever dealt with this or knows of someone who has struggled with this.  Well worth the read time! Gives a number of websites to visit to access help.

The article profiles a number of women who have found nude photos of themselves online, placed there by  angry, past boyfriends who are seeking revenge.  Apparently, this, posting a photo of one’s girlfriend who is partially or fully naked, is not a crime…if the photos were the property of the boyfriend, i.e., he took a picture of the woman on his phone or she sent the photos to him.

The author of the article, Lauren Panariello, quotes an attorney with a thought provoking perspective.  This begins with a comment from a woman who’s ex-boyfriend had posted nude photos (she had sent to him) on the web: “Every attorney I went to said there was nothing they could do about it and told me, ‘You shouldn’t be taking these photos in the first place, so I hope you leaned your lesson.'” “This stuff is really a form of abuse, and the fact that it’s not considered a crime is pretty shocking.” says Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami who is an expert on the subject of cyber harassment. “When we say, ‘What was she doing giving out this picture?, what we’re really saying is if you’re sexual with one person, society is entitled to treat you as sexual for all purposes,” Franks says. “We’re telling woman and girls that revenge porn is justified punishment for giving a sexy picture to a trusted partner, and that’s exactly the same thing as telling woman and girls that rape is justified punishment for drinking or wearing a short skirt.”

Later, mental health issues are discussed: “Because of the humiliation and victimization involved with revenge porn, it can absolutely be a trigger for posttraumatic stress disorder,” says Bill Bercaw, PsyD a clinical psychologist in Pasadena, California. “It’s the same thing that victims of physical sexual assaults are vulnerable to.” One of the women interviewed in the article says, “I checked to see if it was up every morning.  That’s how my day started out. If it was up (her picture, on the website), it was a bad day.  If it was down, it was a good day BUT I still kept checking it all day long.”

A lawsuit against the website that hosted the pictures of the women in the article was filed and the web platform that supported the website was included in the suit.  This lead to the website being shut down. The women (who’s pictures had been posted) went on to develop, a website that connects victims to attorneys who will fight for them in court, in Texas (Most of the women interviewed for this article lived in Texas). Also, the site, has been developed so victims can share their stories and seek support.

Well worth the readtime!

More later……