By Lydia Grasso
More and more, the topic of revenge porn is being brought up. Most recently, the topic of revenge porn has been come up in mainstream media because of the very public incident between Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna. In case you missed it, here’s what happened. On July 4th Blac Chyna posted a Snapchat telling Rob to leave her alone. Rob responded by posting a video Blac Chyna had sent him of her in bed with another man. The next day Rob went on a social media tirade where he posted multiple nude phots of Blac Chyna on Instagram. As a result of this, a civil court granted Blac Chyna a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Rob. Currently, her lawyer is working to try and create a criminal case against Rob, given the state of California’s Revenge Porn laws.
THE LEGAL STUFF
While I don’t often encourage conversations regarding the Kardashian Klan, I think that this specific incident is actually really important to talk about. Especially because even though revenge porn is being taken more seriously in the eyes of the law it’s still happening at really high rates. In 2014, Hawai'i became the tenth state in the nation to sign a law regarding revenge porn1. The law makes it illegal to record or share nude or sexually graphic images or videos of someone without their consent with the intention being to harm/embarrass/shame the person. If someone does share revenge porn, it’s punishable for up to five years in jail. For teenagers, if the video/images are of individuals who are minors, it can even become a case of child pornography, which is an even more serious offense.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
When Hawai’i passed its revenge porn law, unsurprisingly, revenge porn didn’t just stop. That means that we also have to care about and take action in ending revenge porn. Especially since sharing nude photos is becoming more normal for teens (one out of every five seventeen year olds have sent a sexually explicit image of themselves2). The issue I’m talking about is not necessarily the consensual sending of these photos, but rather the issue of those who receive these photos then taking it upon themselves to share the photos with others in an effort to harm the original sender. It’s messed up. With 93% of revenge porn victims experiencing significant emotional distress because their privacy was disrespected, it’s time we stop blaming victims of revenge porn, and instead start standing up against it.
WHAT TO DO
- If you’re tempted to share intimate phots of your partner or ex-partner, don’t. Develop a healthy way to process through your hurt feelings, keeping in mind that regardless of what they did or didn’t do to hurt you, if they did not give consent, sharing their photos is a crime. Your feelings may be valid, but sharing something you have no right to share is never a valid response.
- If you’re trying to decide if you want to send a nude photo to your partner, think through it. Know your rights. Make your decision off of what you feel comfortable with, not because you’re experiencing pressure. Your consent is the most important part.
- If you’ve had someone share your intimate photos or someone is threatening to share your photos, don’t forget, you still have rights. Like the right to contact the police, like Blac Chyna did. You have the right to file a police report and seek a TRO. You also have the right to seek emotional help. Surround yourself with people who will stand by you and up for you. And remember, you didn’t do anything wrong.
o Check out this post from the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative for specifics of how to report a post on various platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft).
At the end of the day, we all know that the sharing of intimate photos is happening, and the most important thing we can do is teach one another to respect the consent of our past and present partners as well as our own personal boundaries. Revenge Porn has no place in healthy relationships.