Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images or Revenge porn is a growing problem that has a significant impact on a person’s personal, social, and professional life. It leads to severe emotional trauma that may lead to therapy in a few cases it leads to suicide. One of the best ways to prevent and fight revenge porn is to understand it.
Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images and videos
Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images is the situation when the intimate images including videos exchanged with your partner during a relationship are misused post breaking up of relationship by your former partner to seek revenge. It may be misused through following actions
- Distributing the image to your family, friends and professional associates.
- Publishing the images online.
In today’s camera phone era, youngsters often share intimate images, but these images get distributed among people that were not intended or anticipated receivers. This results in a violation of the sexual privacy of the individual whose images are being distributed and is a cause of harassment, humiliation and embarrassment.
The result of studies
The various studies conducted in US to understand the impact of revenge porn on various age groups have different shocking results
- A study of individuals of age group 18 to 54 years concludes that 1 out of 10 former partners threatened to publish the intimate photos of their ex-partner online and 60% of these threats were implemented.
- An online survey commissioned in 2008 by National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy concluded that 20 % of teens in the age group 13 to 19 years and 33% of young adults in the age group 20 to 26 years have actively contributed in sexting (the exchange of their own nude images and videos through text or email).
- A study published by Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in 2012 on high school students of Texas concludes that 28% of students have actively participated in sexting. Another study of a school concluded that 20% students did self-image contribution and 25% students forwarded these images to others.
Existing legal framework and legal counter
The only state that has a law against such an offense is New Jersey. Other states in the United States and Countries like Australia and New Zealand use provisions of existing laws on criminal harassment or voyeurism. Germany has provisions in place for offenses under the category of violation of intimate privacy by taking photographs.
In the United States, the legal action to counter Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images and Cyberbullying using intimate photos involve
- Using the specialized laws against Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images such as in the state of New Jersey.
- Use of existing provision of criminal code such as section 162 for voyeurism, section 264 for criminal harassment, section 163 for obscene publication, and sections 298-300 for defamatory libel. These provisions are used separately or in combination in cases against Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images and Cyberbullying.
- If the victim is a child under 18 years of age the child pornography provision, section 163.1, is used.
The existing legal framework can be used to counter Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images and Cyberbullying. The assistance of a legal expert having specialization in handling such cases is a necessity to successfully fight back against revenge porn.
A legal expert will be instrumental in creating and initiating the criminal case against the perpetrator and the online platforms publishing such intimate images as well as in the removal of such images and subsequent punishment for the perpetrator.