Revenge porn becoming more common

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Mariah Foley Staff Writer

A new epidemic has been rising in the US and all around the globe. Posting nude or embarrassing photos and videos on the internet to avenge a broken heart has recently caused hundreds of lawsuits throughout the US. High school and college students are the age group most likely to send these explicit photos.

In 2010, the FBI released statistics on the 20% of teenagers who have admitted to sending nude or semi-nude photos using cell phones or posting them on the internet. The FBI advises young people to “Think about the consequences of taking, sending, or forwarding a sexual picture of yourself or someone else underage. You could get kicked off of sports teams, face humiliation, lose educational opportunities, and even get in trouble with the law. Never take images of yourself that you wouldn’t want everyone—your classmates, your teachers, your family, or your employers—to see. Before hitting send, remember that you cannot control where this image may travel. What you send to a boyfriend or girlfriend easily could end up with their friends, and their friends, and their friends.”

Involuntary porn is commonly posted (most often by scorned exes) along with the personal information of the victims on websites such as IsAnybodyDown.com, Texxxan.com, GoDaddy.com, and more. Laws cracking down on revenge porn have been criticized for possibly violating First Amendment rights.

While the battle is still raging, many women’s rights activists have come together to form groups to fight this rising trend such as Women Against Revenge Porn(WARP), End Revenge Porn, and Not Without My Consent. New Jersey is currently the only state in the US to establish laws against posting revenge porn, although similar bills are moving forward in California and Florida.

In Washington State, there are laws against involuntary surveillance, or taking someone’s picture without them realizing it, but there is still no protection for victims of revenge porn. A person whose nude pictures are posted cannot sue the website; however, they can sue the ex-lover.

What Pierce College students have to say about their revenge porn experiences:

“As I was going through my boyfriend’s cell phone, I saw nude and provocative pictures of about 7 girls he had previously dated. When I confronted him about them, he said he was saving them in case he needed blackmail.” – Anonymous

“My ex-girlfriend cheated on me with one of my friends. I told her I was over it, and I took her to a party and got her super drunk. I pulled her aside in a dark room and we tried everything you can think of. What she didn’t know was that there was a nanny cam in the room recording us. I called a porn company a week later and asked how much they would give me for the video. I made $500. It would be so easy to be a porn star!” – Anonymous

*Students were granted anonymity to prevent embarrassment and/or harassment.