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What is revenge porn?

STATES are enforcing a revenge porn law that makes people responsible for posting nude photos and videos of their exes without consent.

Law enforcement comes as a slew of revenge porn charges come to court.

Revenge porn is non-consensual photos or videos posted online

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Revenge porn is non-consensual photos or videos posted online

What is revenge porn?

Victims have been targeted by revenge porn from their ex-boyfriends and occasionally third parties who attempt to tarnish their reputation or post it as a form of harassment.

Revenge porn posting involves photos and videos of the victim being posted online without the person’s consent, affecting one in 25 Americans, according to a 2016 Washington Post article.

Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 are primarily victims of revenge porn, and a 2016 study found that about 10 million people, or two percent of the population, reported being victims.

Revenge porn is not protected by the First Amendment to Freedom of Speech, which does not protect the dissemination of private facts, slander, and child pornography.

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Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act 1996, websites are considered third parties and are not legally liable for any content posted online.

However, in 2020, then-Attorney General William Barr wrote a letter to Congress urging sites to take action and hold third parties accountable for failing to remove non-consensual content.

In his letter, Barr wrote that technological changes have progressed since 1996 and the law should be amended to reflect this.

He explained that Section 230 shields “any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers obscene, indecent, lascivious, dirty, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable. “

Barr reformed Section 230 and changed “otherwise objectionable” with more specific language, including “promoting terrorism or violent extremism, promoting self-harm” and “unlawful.”

The draft law to amend Section 230 was submitted to the Senate in October 2021 and has been under review since May 2022.

One in 25 Americans has been a victim of revenge porn

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One in 25 Americans has been a victim of revenge pornPhoto credit: Getty Images – Getty

Which states have banned revenge porn?

As recently as 2016, only three US states had laws against revenge porn.

It has since spread to 46 states and the District of Columbia, with varying penalties for offenders.

The four states that do not have laws criminalizing revenge porn include Massachusetts, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Wyoming.

Of the states that have an anti-revenge pornography law, seventeen classify it as a misdemeanor, eleven convict the person of a crime, and in others the penalty depends on the specifics of the crime.

If the person who posted revenge porn is convicted of a felony, they can get four to five years in prison, and in some states like Alabama, they can get up to 10 years in prison if charged with a Class C felony.

The convicted person can also be fined as little as $1,000 for a misdemeanor and more than $100,000 for a felony in Georgia, whose law states, “If it is posted on a website that advertises, a felony, punishable by five years is fined up to $100,000, but subsequent charges are a felony punishable by two to five years and up to $100,000 in fines,” according to FindLaw.

What can you do if you are a victim of revenge porn?

If you are a victim of revenge porn, the first thing to do is to check your state’s laws for non-consensual pornography, cyberbullying, cyber harassment, and stalking.

The next step should be to call the police and get in touch with a civil rights attorney who can guide you through the next stage of the indictment process.

Your civil attorney can file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator to stop the photos or videos from being posted online.

You may also sue the individual for invasion of privacy, violation of applicable state laws, fraud and/or defamation.

You can claim damages, which include, but are not limited to, medical and therapeutic costs, emotional distress, and loss of income.

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An unnamed victim from Texas told News12 that they are witnessing the court proceedings firsthand and offered advice to other revenge porn victims.

They said: “You have a voice and you have an opportunity and please contact your local authorities.”

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues addressed in this story, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or chat at thehotline.org.

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DevanCole

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