Revenge Porn Isn’t Just Malicious — It’s Sexual Assault

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The law should treat revenge porn with the same severity as all other forms of sexual harassment and violence.

Revenge Porn Is Sexual Assault (Even When It's By A Kardashian)

As a society, we have a tendency to minimize certain sex crimes by blaming the victim and ignoring the importance of consent. Debates about whether you can be raped by your spouse (yes, you can) or whether you can revoke consent during sex (yes, you can) are sadly still a part of public discourse.

It’s time for society to call a spade a spade: revenge porn absolutely is sexual assault.

While cyberbullying in all its forms is wrong, revenge porn is particularly heinous. And it can happen to anyone.

According to a 2013 California ruling, revenge porn encompasses the following legal definition:

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Content that is sexual in nature spread like wildfire on the internet. Once a photo or video is posted online, it can be near-impossible to remove.

The potential damages and emotional distress that result from this kind of cyber sex crime can haunt victims for the rest of their lives. Some report feelings of depression, PTSD, loss of a job or partner, loss of personal safety, increased online harassment, being stalked, and constant fear of the material being discovered by friends and family members.

Victims also face accusations that they are at fault for taking the photos of videos in the first place. This parallels the misogyny and rape culture that surrounds other acts of sexual assault.

Victims of revenge porn do not deserve to be blamed for taking sexual photos or videos in the first place — the sole blame rests on the shoulders of the person committing the betrayal and exploiting another person’s sexuality for their own personal gain.

Diminishing the act of revenge porn allows rape culture to continue and normalizes taking away (mostly) women’s autonomy over their own bodies.

Currently only 21 states recognize revenge porn as explicitly illegal, and victims often just end up arguing copyright infringement to have the private images taken down from the web.

It’s time for our country’s legal system to catch up to technology so we can tackle the threat of cyber sex crimes head on.


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