Gov. Cuomo Signs Bill to Outlaw Revenge Porn

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 “When I found my ex posted pictures to several different sites, I went straight to the police to file a report. I had a protective order against him (he was abusive) and I felt like this was a violation of that. The detective flat out told me there was nothing they could do. He had posted my name, my Facebook pictures, where I lived, and all the explicit photos he took when we were together. She told me next time I shouldn’t let someone take pictures of me so this wouldn’t happen. I was MORTIFIED.” - Anonymous

Our educators regularly ask rooms of teenagers whether they know someone who has sent a nude picture. Usually, about 90% of the room raises their hands. 

Whether they are sending the photos or not, today’s teens know someone who is sending explicit photos of themselves. Often, these sexts and images are shared between consenting partners. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. 

Revenge porn is the non-consensual sharing or publication of an intimate image or video. These images can often be leveraged as a means of control by an abusive partner or ex-partner in an attempt to shame, harm, or gain back the abused partner. 

One 2013 study indicated that nearly 7% of teenagers have experienced being pressured by a dating partner to send a sexual or naked photo of themselves. Of course, many victims of revenge porn shared the photos consensually, such as Arianna (name changed).  She wrote, “My ex logged into my Facebook and took naked pictures that I had sent to my new [partner] over messenger and posted them . . . My family saw, my friends saw, my Facebook got shut down for nudity and it took forever to get back.”

It is a huge step forward that New York State has become the latest to criminalize the publication of revenge porn. The bill, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law on July 23, will make the sharing of an intimate image without permission a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. New York City made posting revenge porn a criminal act in 2017, but the state-wide mandate will make it easier for victims in the city and beyond to seek justice. 

The bill passed the State Assembly in 2018, but proponents believed it was held back in the Senate due to lobbying by large internet companies, including Google. 

At Day One, most of our direct services clients experience some sort of abuse based on the use of technology. We often help clients combat a variety of tech abuse, including removing spyware or keyloggers from their photos, taking down sockpuppet accounts that pretend to be the client on social media, and removing revenge porn. This bill will provide an expanded legal avenue for us to help our clients. 

To learn more about our direct services, click here. 

To hear our Director of Legal Services, Andrew Sta. Ana, speak about how to stay safe online, click here. (Please note: this podcast was recorded before the passage of the most recent revenge porn law.)

Finally, if you are interested in scheduling a corporate workshop for your department or group about this issue, click here. 

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