REVENGE PORN 


What happens when someone you once trusted threatens to take your private sexual photos or videos public? 


 

If you’re caught up on all things ‘Revenge Porn’ related in the news, you know O.C. star Mischa Barton was recently betrayed by her ex-boyfriend, who allegedly hid a camera and videotaped their sex without her consent. To our knowledge, the film is likely floating around Porn Valley, aka The San Fernando Valley in Southern California, right now. 

Mischa and her lawyer, Lisa Bloom, are on a mission to bring down Mischa’s ex. He’s been shopping the tape around to major porn sites hoping for quite the large payout. According to Bloom, the “law will come down on him hard.” Sadly, Mischa’s case of ‘Revenge Porn’ isn’t a rarity in today’s society.

The term 'Revenge Porn,' though frequently used, is somewhat misleading. Many perpetrators are not motivated by revenge or by any personal feelings toward the victim. A more accurate term is nonconsensual pornography (NCP), defined as the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent.

How many times have we been warned about sending photos or videos containing sexual content? With so many social media platforms begging naughty behavior, it’s almost impossible to remain safe from uninvited exposure. We joke about such a calamity but truthfully; once it hits ‘The Cloud’ it’s in cyberspace forever.

The ugly truth is that there’s so much cash to be made in this industry. Whether you’re seeking revenge or just a few extra bucks in your bank account, individuals all over have ammo to take your private images and make them public.

I was curious after reading about Mischa’s case whether most cases involving soliciting sexual photos or videos are to in fact shame an ex or because it seemed like an untapped goldmine for quick cash. I did what I know how to do best and began asking around. Below are individuals who’ve been victims to threats or actual exploitation. 


Ashley, 38

“This guy I met off Tinder took a picture of me peeing on our first date. I didn’t know until three weeks later when he threatened to show his friends after I politely told him I just wanted to be friends. It’s crazy how little you really know someone. I never thought he was capable of such calculation. He never sent the photo to anyone but if I had to guess I’m not the first girl he’s photographed in the bathroom and I probably won’t be the last.”


Breanna, 24

“My ex is a total creep and downloaded all my old sexy photos to a folder on his computer and said when we broke up it was his property and I kept refuting that claim saying, ‘but that's my body!’ So I did what any girl would do. I faked wanting him back and we got together so I could gain access to his computer and I deleted all of my videos and photos. It's scary because I didn't know if he would lash out if he found out. Luckily I got out of there before he noticed and never spoke to him again.”


Ren, 30

“My ex shamed me into staying in our relationship for four months longer than I wanted it to last because he kept threatening to show my parents a sex video we made as a joke one night when we were drunk. It was stupid to let him hold onto that footage. I just never thought twice about it. Finally, I had to call his bluff because I was so miserable. I told him to go ahead and show whomever he wanted but the second he did I would be taking him to court. He claims to have deleted the video but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn the wiser. Now I’m much more careful with who I let have access to my private photos or videos.”


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Cara, 25

“I got a screenshot from one of my colleagues of a picture I sent my boyfriend at the time…who worked with me. It was mortifying! It was a Tuesday and all of a sudden my naked body was plastered on my home screen. I opened the text and almost died of embarrassment. I went to HR immediately and he got fired within the hour. Unfortunately, it didn’t make it any better that a picture of me naked circulated around my entire office.”


Louis, 41

“My ex girlfriend was a nude photographer and she took photos of me while I was sleeping or in the shower and I had no idea. It was total manipulation. A year after we broke up she tried incorporating the photos she took of me into a portfolio she was working on. That’s right – she literally tried making money off my naked body. I went to the police and that nipped that rather quickly.”


Greg, 50

“My ex wife was a total tech nerd and she had all this spy gear where normal everyday objects doubled as hidden cameras. She was worried about the babysitters and so she installed about eight hidden cameras in our home in the form of USB wall chargers, alarm clocks, and Internet adapters. I remember the first time she showed me these little gadgets doubled as recording devices. I thought there was no way it was possible until she pulled up the footage on her iPhone and showed me the live streaming. It was all fun and games until we divorced and she threatened to show indecent photos and videos of me to all our friends and family. Granted, I was cheating on her and she was almost certain she had definitive proof but I never took my now-girlfriend home with me. I was careful…just not careful enough.”


 

If you’re interested in aiding the fight against nonconsensual pornography through social, technological, and legal innovation, you can click on this link and pledge a donation. Funds will be used in the effort to create a federal law against NCP. 


Laura C. Anderson | @s0mebl0nde


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