Revenge Porn

If someone who you don't trust has compromising images or videos of you, it can feel like your life is falling apart. You may fear losing your reputation to such a degree that you'll do just about anything to keep that person from releasing these pornographic materials onto the internet. However, you have a number of different options at your disposal to eliminate or mitigate the threat that revenge porn presents to your well-being. Before you take action, you'll need to learn more about revenge porn and how it affects victims of domestic violence. 

What is Revenge Porn?

When you're in an intimate relationship with someone, you might exchange pornographic images or videos with that person over text messages or through a social media private messaging service. In addition, you may consent to your partner's wish to film you while you perform sexual acts. While both of these types of pornographic media are obtained through consensual means, unless you consent to have these images or videos shared, it's your partner's responsibility to keep them private.

Some relationships, however, end badly, and if your partner still has compromising images or video footage of you after you break up, it's natural to be concerned about what might happen to this pornographic media. You may be even more concerned if you've heard of revenge porn, which is, unfortunately, still highly popular around the world. 

Revenge porn is when a former partner shares pornographic images or videos of you on the internet. While your former partner may only initially share this explicit media with one or two people, it's incredibly easy to copy and save videos and images, and sharing media has become easier than ever in the social media age. In some cases, your former partner may upload compromising images or videos of you to websites that are specifically set up for amateur pornographic videos; in this instance, media depicting you nude or performing sex acts can very rapidly be shared between individuals all over the world.

In recent years, measures have been taken to crack down on the prevalence of revenge porn, but you can't count on these initiatives to protect you from a former partner or spouse who wants to harm you by sharing intimate images or videos. If you want to make sure that your life won't be destroyed by revenge porn, you'll need to be proactive and take matters into your own hands.

How is Revenge Porn Related to Domestic Violence?

Revenge porn is bad enough when it is shared at the culmination of an otherwise healthy, consensual sexual relationship. However, this already dark practice has an even darker side that can show itself when a relationship is unhealthy; some partners may use revenge porn as a form of blackmail.

While most intimate relationships start positively, there's no telling how a romantic partnership might progress. Over time, each person's true self comes to the surface, and if your partner ends up being immature or traumatized, they may start to abuse you. Naturally, you'd want to escape from a physically or emotionally abusive relationship, but most people who abuse their partners are obsessive and insecure; they will use any means at their disposal to keep you trapped in a relationship with them.

If you made the seemingly harmless mistake of sharing naked or sexually explicit photos or videos with your partner at some point in your relationship, they might start threatening to share these photos with your friends, coworkers, or family. Since the effectiveness of this type of blackmail vanishes as soon as your partner actually follows through with their threat and shares the compromising material, this situation is, in some ways, preferable to the mass sharing of pornographic images of you without any warning. However, being trapped in a relationship with a sword of humiliation dangling over your head is a horror that no one should have to experience, and if your partner ends up sharing your revenge porn anyway, you'll have endured the worst type of suffering that this cruel and childish practice can inflict. 

If your partner continues to threaten to release your pornographic images and videos to the public, you may stay in a relationship with them out of fear that your reputation and career will be ruined. If you end up mustering the courage to walk away, however, it's likely that they'll share the compromising material, and then you'll need to understand the effects that this type of pornography can have and how you can mitigate the effects of this potentially life-ruining act.

What Are the Effects of Revenge Porn?

When you've become a victim of revenge porn, you may start to fear showing your face in public. After all, anyone on the street could have seen you in a compromising situation that was only meant to be viewed by your committed partner, and you may start to become paranoid that close friends who have assured you that they'd never look at your revenge porn are lying to you.

While it's unlikely that an employer would fire you due to circumstances that are beyond your control, you may start to feel so uncomfortable at work that you quit. Coworkers may get the wrong impression about you and make unwanted sexual advances, and even your family and close friends may suffer from being associated with your new notoriety.

Revenge porn can put an extreme strain on your personal relationship, and it can easily turn a previously outgoing person into an agoraphobic. Where revenge porn has the most serious impact, however, is on your romantic life; you may be afraid ever to date anyone again, and if you do seek out love, you may be worried that the person sitting across from you at a restaurant table or next to you in a movie theater has already seen a side of you that you only want to share with people who you trust.

Is Revenge Porn Illegal?

There's no question that revenge porn is immoral; anyone who uploads or knowingly views this type of pornography has no standard of decency, and revenge porn has no place in an enlightened society. However, is revenge porn actually illegal?

According to the Cyber Rights Initiative, revenge porn is now illegal in 40 states. More and more states are following suit as state-level legislators become informed about the immensely negative impact that this type of pornography has on men and women around the country. In addition, Senator Kamala Harris of California has introduced a new bill to the Senate floor titled S.2162 or the "Enough Act."

This bill has not yet been ratified into law, but if it were, it would make the distribution of revenge pornography a federal crime punishable by jail time in federal prison. At this point, however, victims of revenge pornography will need to rely on the individual laws that are present in their home states. Not all cases of dissemination of revenge pornography are prosecutable, but many are; to learn more, reach out to a qualified revenge porn lawyer in your state.

While not all states have laws on revenge porn, every state has made domestic abuse illegal in one way or another. In some cases, blackmail via revenge porn or distribution of revenge porn may be considered to be a form of domestic violence in and of itself, but most victims of revenge porn have also been exposed to other forms of domestic violence. If you're concerned that you don't have a case when it comes to revenge porn due to state law or other extenuating circumstances, you may still be able to level charges of domestic violence against your partner.

In the state of California, for instance, you can receive immediate protection from your partner if you have been the victim of domestic violence. If a law enforcement officer is summoned to your home on a domestic violence call and they determine that domestic violence has, in fact, taken place, they can issue you with an Emergency Protective Order (EPO). This order requires that your partner vacate the premises and have no contact with you for seven days, and during this time, you can work with the court to receive a more permanent restraining order.

You may also be able to take other forms of legal action against a partner who has abused you or distributed revenge pornography depicting your image. Consult with your revenge porn attorney to learn more about your options.

How Do Social Media Platforms View Revenge Porn?

As the scourge of revenge pornography has received more and more national attention, social media platforms have begun to take stronger stances against this phenomenon. In 2015, Google, Facebook, Twitter and a number of other big tech platforms teamed up to provide their users with tools to help remove revenge porn from the internet. All of the major social media platforms also now have stringent rules against revenge porn; if administrators or algorithms find revenge pornography on Twitter, for instance, it is immediately flagged for deletion.

In most cases, the best way to get help with removing revenge porn from big tech platforms is to reach out to customer service representatives from each platform. They will be alerted to the presence of revenge porn, and they will follow their policies to remove the offending material. Keep in mind, however, that it may be impossible to remove every copy of your compromising material from every social media platform on which it has been shared; while all of the major social media platforms stand united in their condemnation of revenge pornography, since this type of material is so easy to share, it is hard to eradicate it completely.

As you work with social media platforms to remove compromising material, keep in mind that these tech companies don't seek out the presence of revenge porn on their own. You'll need to find instances of revenge porn and alert the company, and social media companies also don't take responsibility for the presence of revenge porn on their platforms. Instead, the responsibility for the presence of revenge porn on social media always lies with the person who posted or shared it, which means that you most likely won't be able to sue a social media company for hosting revenge porn in which you're depicted.

On the other hand, if you're able to successfully assert that you own the copyright to compromising material, social media companies will most likely be forced to take stringent measures to remove revenge porn. To do so, however, you'll need to prove that you took the videos or shot the pictures in question, or you'll need to gain the cooperation of the person who produced the pornographic material.

How Do You Protect Yourself from Revenge Porn?

The best way to protect yourself from the potentially negative ramifications of revenge porn is to avoid generating any pornographic images or videos that bear your image. If you are photographed or filmed without your consent, that's another matter, but in the case of consensual pornography, the ultimate reason why you've found yourself in this situation is that you allowed another person to gain access to personally compromising material.

For the same reason that you don't hand out your credit cards or social security number to strangers, you should be very careful when you generate pornographic material. You may feel like you can trust a person that you're in an intimate relationship with, but things can change quickly. It's only reasonable to share pornographic material if you've been in a mature, committed relationship with someone for a number of years, which explains why the overwhelming majority of instances of revenge porn are generated from short-term or non-committed relationships.

Once you've made the choice to share sexually explicit images or videos of yourself with another person, there's no way to prevent these images from becoming public. It used to be the case that if you shared pornographic material with another person, they'd have to make physical copies of it if they wanted to share it. These days, however, a person can make dozens of copies of your pornographic material within moments and share it with hundreds of people before you even know what happened.

What Can You Do If You're a Victim of Revenge Porn?

Once compromising images of you have been shared on the internet, you may not be able to completely control what happens next. There are a variety of ways that you can try to put the genie back into the bottle, but the most important thing to remember is that, no matter what you do, it's likely that pornographic images of you will be released onto the internet. On the other hand, however, here are a few of the steps you can take to try to mitigate the effects that revenge pornography has had on your life:

  • Request content removal: Whether compromising images of you have appeared on Twitter, Facebook, or Google, reach out to the customer service representatives for these platforms to request the removal of the offending content.
  • Contact the webmaster: Even if Google or another search engine agrees to remove the offending content, this content may still be present on the pornographic website on which it was originally posted. Reach out to the webmaster for the website to request that they permanently delete the content so that it won't be available on any more search engines.
  • Learn more about revenge porn laws: Revenge porn laws vary from state to state, so you'll need to learn more about your area's specific laws.
  • Keep copies: If you end up taking legal action regarding your revenge porn, you'll need to maintain copies of the evidence to present. While it might be tempting to delete text messages or emails that contain compromising images due to the trauma that they have caused, you'll need to overcome this urge if you want to seek justice.

If your partner is using revenge porn to threaten you but they haven't released it yet, it's important to take legal action immediately. It's never the right idea to endure domestic violence and hope that it will get better, and since there are resources at your disposal to protect yourself, there's no reason to stand idly by. In the state of California and many other states, the first step that you should take if you're a victim of domestic violence is to call the police.

Contacting a Revenge Porn Legal Expert Near Me

If you've become a victim of revenge porn, it's time to seek out the help you need to get your life back on track. The capable revenge porn attorneys at the offices of Leah Legal are standing by to assist you with the process of clearing your reputation and bringing the person who hurt you to justice. To get started on erasing the negative impact that revenge porn has had on your life, reach out to Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer by calling 818-484-1100 today!