Blog Safe Sex Safety Sex in the News  Sharing Isn’t Caring… The Rise of Revenge Porn

Sharing Isn’t Caring… The Rise of Revenge Porn

While getting revenge on an ex partner or lover way back when constituted sleeping with their best friend or spreading negative rumours, today’s technological world has called for a new kind of revenge… that is, revenge porn. 

Blog Safe Sex Safety Sex in the News  Sharing Isn’t Caring… The Rise of Revenge Porn

It’s easier than ever to do, and leaves the victim with irreparable effects, including embarrassment, humiliation, anger, depression, and other mental and emotional distress. 

As for the victim’s livelihood, they may endure a loss of employment or face challenges when finding a new job, a loss of friends, tension and shame within the family, and further (cyber) bullying. They may even find themselves in danger if their personal information, such as full name and address, is posted.

Having said that, governments all over the world have taken a stand against revenge porn, and have put laws in place in order to help prevent the participation in this vile form of vengeance… which is a good first step.

For those who are not so familiar with this fairly new way in which to get back at an ex, here’s a little more information about revenge porn.

What is Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn is the sharing of explicit and sexual videos or photos of another person without their consent

This is often done as a means to cause embarrassment and shame, and is usually posted or shared by an ex partner or lover who wants to ‘get back’ at their ex for one or more reasons. 

Usually it is done by someone who has perhaps been broken up with , or someone who feels betrayed or angry towards an old partner or lover. 

Other times, hackers or anonymous stalkers may gain access to someone’s personal photos and videos, which are then shared publicly.

These explicit images or videos are either uploaded to social media channels, shared between friends on messenger platforms, and sometimes uploaded to revenge porn websites for the public to see. The sharer or uploader may gain personal satisfaction, monetary gain, or simply a feeling of pride in giving others content for entertainment.

When Did Revenge Porn Begin?

You may be under the impression that revenge porn began with the invention of the Internet. In actuality, the earliest form of revenge porn was said to take place in Hustler magazine in the 1980’s.

In it, they had an allocated section called, “Beaver Hunt” which was an opportunity for women to send in their photos along with some of their information (hobbies, sexual fantasies etc.). 

This lead to the magazine being sued by several women who claimed that they did not, in fact, send in the published images.

Today, revenge porn has gained international recognition and much more popularity. This is largely due to the website, IsAnyoneUp, created in 2010 by Hunter Moore. 

This website served as a kind of online version of Beaver Hunt, and gave users the opportunity to upload their own pornographic images. 

In the height of its success, it attracted more than 30 million visitors and brought in around $13,000 per month.

Despite its shut down in 2012, Moore seemed to show no feelings of remorse about the website. When confronted by two women who were victims of revenge porn on his website, he simply stated, “No one put a gun to your head and made you take these pictures. It’s 2011, everything’s on the Internet.”

Which brings me to my next point… 

Send Nudes” and “Sliding into the DM

By understanding the implications of revenge porn, you may be asking yourself why anyone would be willing to share their most intimate photos or videos with someone. And sure, we can blame it on technology, but at the end of the day, technology is merely the channel that’s allowed us to share these images and videos so freely.

It is more so a question of the way in which we are socialised to believe that the sharing of these images and videos is OK, telling ourselves that we trust the receiver and that something like revenge porn would never happen to us. 

And for many, sharing explicit images or videos of themselves to their partner is a way in which to flirt , engage in sexting , and to practice sexual expression. In this way, the images and or videos were sent with consent… at the time.

But in a shocking survey conducted by dating website, Match.com, it was found that 10 percent of ex partners have threatened to expose these kinds of images and videos. And of that 10 percent, 60 percent actually followed through. 

What’s also shocking is the fact that around 90 percent of those who fall victim to revenge porn, are women. This is because women are much more likely to be pressured into sending this kind of material to someone of the opposite sex.

And as the heading suggests, we’re living in a society where “Send nudes” and “Sliding into the DM’s” are so ingrained and normalised, that there are too many memes to count that poke fun at the notion. 

We are able to gain instant satisfaction by downloading, uploading, sending, and sharing content online, and because of this, there are currently as many as 3000 revenge porn websites online today. 

And just because someone on the other side of the world has forgotten about an image or video that they stumbled across, a prospective employer, a friend, or family member, has the ability to find the material by simply typing in a name. 

Don’t believe me? A study revealed that at least 50 percent of the time, a full name and a link to a social media account is included when an explicit photo or video is shared, and at least 20 percent of the time, the victim’s email address or phone number is shared.

Still feel like sending nudes or sliding into the DM?

Why Do Men Post Revenge Porn?

While both men and women can, and do, share explicit images and videos of others without their consent, the victims are oftentimes women. 

Why? Here are a few reasons provided by men who have actually posted revenge porn, as discussed with clinical psychologist, David J. Ley, PhD :

  • To show off a hot girlfriend or sexual partner
  • To prove what a stud he is
  • To get revenge after being broken up with 
  • To be ‘one of the guys’
  • Because he thinks the victim may be excited and turned on by it
  • Because he didn’t understand the implications  

Regardless of the reason, however, the rise of revenge porn needs to be combatted on a criminal level… 

Criminalization of Revenge Porn

Today, there are a number of websites, initiatives, laws, and activists who are fighting to end revenge porn. One such website is cybercivilrights.org , a site that is dedicated to criminalizing revenge porn. 

The founder, Holly Jacobs, who has herself been a victim of revenge porn, works passionately against the uploading and sharing of this kind of material, as well as cyber harassment. 

And while her efforts have not gone unnoticed, it is the work of Dr. Charlotte Laws that has been most commended. 

Laws was given the nickname “the Erin Brockovich of revenge porn,” as she was one of the first to make a dent in legislation when it comes to criminalizing revenge porn.

Google and Microsoft (Bing) have, too, stepped up to do their bit in reducing and eradicating the sharing of revenge porn. They provide visitors the ability to request the removal of links related to revenge porn:

Yahoo! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and Tumblr also do not allow this kind of material on their platforms, and thus an image or video can be reported. (Is this really enough though?)

And when it comes to the laws of various countries and states, many have implemented legal repercussions for those who post revenge porn. In the U.S. alone, 46 states, DC, and one territory now have revenge porn laws in place. 

This is all good news, but there’s still a long way to go in terms of censorship, management, and prohibiting the sharing and posting of these kinds of images and videos. 

Until then, the best advice to stay safe online is to:

  • Be cautious of what you’re sending and to whom
  • Avoid sending pictures and videos with your face visible (you can even use sexy face masks when recording or taking pictures)
  • Or simply save the sexy magic for when you see your partner in-person.

Safe is always best!

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