Intro to Revenge Porn

Intro to Revenge Porn

Imagine your happiest self in your happiest relationship … You’re in love. Your paramour can do no wrong. And the sex! The amazing sex! Who wouldn’t want to preserve those feelings with a photograph or two, or maybe a video? What could possibly go wrong?

The internet is a constant demonstration of exactly what can go wrong. When your happy self and your happy relationship go from the city of love to breakup town, those old photographs and videos don’t disappear nearly as easily as your euphoria.

Nearly 10 million Americans have had someone threaten to post or actually post a nude or nearly nude photograph or video of them on the internet, according to one study. Images that were always intended to be private are shared on websites, social media, and in emails to employers, family, and friends. Angry exes, wronged lovers, victims of cheating and others post these private images in order to exact revenge on the subject of the images. This phenomenon has become known as “revenge porn.”

If you’re thinking that this seems like a great way to get back an an ex, stop right there. At least 38 states in the US have laws against distributing sexually graphic images of an individual without their consent. In most states that have criminal sanctions for the posting of revenge porn, the penalties are serious, including becoming a felon and facing incarceration and significant financial penalties in the form of fines, court costs, and restitution to the victim.

Once someone has made an impulsive decision to share pornographic images of another person without their consent, it is very difficult to undo, no matter how hard you try. Images that are shared on social media can be saved, shared, or disseminated by others within a very short period of time. Images posted to websites, some specifically targeting revenge porn, often cannot be removed. Victims of revenge porn postings are often extorted for money in exchange for a promise to remove the content from the website. You can’t recall images or videos shared with others via email or text message.

If you are under investigation by the police for illegally posting revenge porn, you have to be very careful how you proceed. While it is desirable to try to mitigate the damage to the victim by removing photos or videos from social media or websites, once you are under investigation, you cannot destroy evidence. Destruction of evidence can, at times, carry higher penalties than the crimes associated with the revenge porn. You should also avoid making statements to the police, or voluntarily turning over computers, phones, tablets, or other electronic devices without a warrant.

If you are charged with a crime associated with the posting of revenge porn, you should hire a criminal defense attorney who has experience defending those charged with sex crimes. You should also consider consulting with a civil attorney such as the Sex Crimes Attorney Grand Rapids MI locals turn to. A victim of revenge porn can seek not only criminal prosecution, but could also pursue a civil suit to recover money for the damages caused by the posting of the pornographic images without their consent.

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 12.53.34 PMThanks to authors at Blanchard Law for their insight into Criminal Defense and Sex Crimes.

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