Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Help me to #BanRevengePorn

Next Monday, two amendments to criminalise revenge porn will go to the committee stage in the House of Lords.

For those who don’t know, revenge porn is non-consensual pornography. It’s where a person uploads an explicit image of somebody without their permission. Often the victim’s name and contact details are attached. Not only is it humiliating but it has the potential to reach out of the screen and destroy people’s lives.

The first amendment was submitted by a group of Lib Dems in the Lords. It states that ‘a person commits an offence if they publish a sexually explicit or pornographic image of another identifiable person unless the identifiable person consented to publication’ - this amendment would mean that the offender could be imprisoned for up to a year, as well as being subject to a fine.

The second amendment seeks to amend the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 to make revenge porn a sexual offence of a similar ilk to voyeurism. Perpetrators wouldn’t be placed on the Sex Offenders Register but it would mean that the offence would be treated far more seriously.

Both of these amendments have their flaws, the term ‘identifiable’ worries me in the first one – when an ex uploaded images of me, they didn’t necessarily include my face. I’d have concerns as to how identifiable the images would need to be before an offence could be proved.

The second amendment relies on the person having shared the image for sexual gratification (either their own, or that of a third person) – which would be near impossible to prove, as these images are often uploaded to harass and humiliate – rather than for direct sexual gain.

Despite the minor flaws, both of these amendments would empower the victims of revenge porn. It would force perpetrators to take responsibility for the damage and stress they’ve caused to the lives of others.

Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with sharing private images of yourself but you do so with a reasonable expectation of privacy. There is, however, something intrinsically wrong with using explicit images as a tool to harass and humiliate someone.

As a victim of revenge porn, I can’t even begin to explain how relieved it makes me to think that Parliament is seriously considering these proposals. Most victims of revenge porn are shamed and forced in to silence for fear that more people will find their images. They’re made to tolerate the abuse and forced to suffer through tedious copyright claims because it’s the closest they can get to having something done.

I’ve spoken to victims who were suicidal, whose images were taken on a Polaroid camera before they had any concept of the Internet, who have lost their careersand whose relationships have been ruined. All the while, those who have published the images are free to sit back and revel in the pain they’ve caused to someone whose only crime was to trust someone.

It’s time that something was done, so I’ll be eagerly following the progress of the amendments through the Lords, and I hope you’ll join me in the calls to finally criminalise revenge porn.

You can find out more about my campaign here.

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One thought on “Help me to #BanRevengePorn

  • Hecuba says:

    I have concerns in respect of this wording ‘a person commits an offence if they publish a sexually explicit or pornographic image of another identifiable person unless the identifiable person consented to publication’ This wording created by the Lib Dems supposedly defines ‘revenge porn’ but it does not.

    This wording will not criminalise those men who photo shop existing images of male sexual violence against women – aka malestream porn and paste head and shoulders of a woman on to the existing porn image. Instead the presumption is the whole image is that of the female victim the male perpetrator is targeting.

    I foresee male defendants’ lawyers claiming ‘the image isn’t that of the female victim because the female body is not that of the female victim just the head and shoulders, so therefore we cannot say ‘the female victim didn’t consent because the male defendant did not use image of her body without her consent!’ Bingo – win win again for men and their male right to continue punishing women for daring to enact female subservience to the default human – aka male.

    Innumerable men are targeting women they perceive as threatening their male right to dominate and oppress men. So-called ‘revenge porn’ is not just about ex male partners targeting women and sending them vile sexually degrading images.

    The issue is pandemic male hatred/male contempt for women and girls.

    Men are using the internet to photo shop head and shoulder images of women they perceive as threatening their male rights (meaning male right to oppress women) and placing the woman’s head and shoulders onto exiting male created pornography which commonly shows the woman being subjected to degrading male sexual violence. Then these men circulate these images to the woman; her employer; her friends; her relatives; her GP and anyone else who knows the woman. The women-hating men’s reason is to totally destroy the woman’s fundamental right to be accorded dignity and respect. Many women have lost their jobs because their employers have received these images and do not want a so-called ‘loose woman’ working for them. Note: ‘loose woman’ is a vile male created term because men have always claimed women’s respectability and rights depends on whether or not she is sexually moral according to male definitions.

    As usual the male initiators of this proposed legislation are fixated on whether or not said (male created images) are for the sexual gratification either of the male sender or those of the third party! This neatly erases issue is not one of ‘sexual gratification’ but systemic degradation of the female victim. Once again men are defining female victims as ‘sex’ not as autonomous female human beings. Furthermore sometimes the male perpetrators experience sexual gratification when they send these images to the female victim, because men have always eroticised male sexual domination over women and girls which is why male created pornography exists.

    Issue is not about men taking revenge against known women but men using the internet to maintain pseudo male sex right to oppress and control women, which is why proposed legislation is written in gender neutral language because it serves to hide which sex is doing what to which sex. It is very easy to state sex of perpetrators without bias by using these terms: ‘male/female commits an offence if they publish a sexually explicit or pornographic etc.’ We live in a society wherein sex of individual matters but Lib Dems believe ‘person’ is sufficient because men have always claimed they are not a ‘sex’ but individual human beings. Women are not ‘persons’ because their sex is always identified. This is how men maintain their lie man (sic) is human whereas woman is other!

    So issue is about as usual, male enactment of sexual; political and socio-economic power over women because make no mistake – it is overwhelmingly males who are the ones using these methods to maintain male domination over women. Mens’ so-called ‘revenge porn’ is just one of innumerable myriad ways men use to maintain their male pseudo sex right to oppress women because their sex is female.

    The right for all women to move freely within our society and not be subjected to male intimidation/incitement of male hatred is as usual ignored by male politicians.