Revenge porn is defined by the National Conference of State Legislature as “the posting of nude or sexually explicit photographs or videos of people online without their consent, even if the photograph itself was taken with consent.”

McAfee’s 2013, Love, Relationships, and Technology survey revealed that a whopping one in ten ex partners have threatened to expose naked photos of their ex online; 60 percent of the scorned lovers made good on their threats. Often, women’s names and personal information are shared along with their photos, prompting harassment and stalking from random and misogynists. This violation of trust not only jeopardizes women’s careers and reputations, but also their mental well-being as their sexuality is exposed in humiliating ways.

Their crime is being attractive but no longer sexually available to their bitter ex-lovers and their punishment is having technology and their own body wielded against them as a weapon. The Wild West culture of the internet allows people to do whatever they want to whoever they want behind a curtain of anonymity and without legitimate fear of legal repercussions.

Websites that host these photos are protected by a federal law that absolves them of responsibility for material posted by third parties. Twelve states have laws that make posting on them a crime if the poster’s identity can even be found out.

Only New Jersey and California have laws addressing revenge porn directly. Although the legislation is a step in the right direction, there are major loopholes.

This issue was brought to the forefront in September of last year when Jennifer Lawrence and a plethora of other celebrity’s nudes were leaked in a photo-dump debacle dubbed, “The Fappening.” If seeing sexy photos is what you want, there is an enormous selection of women who have agreed to pose naked for viewers’ pleasure. Plenty of famous women have their nude images out there, proving that it is not the celebrity status of Lawrence and others that motivated the theft of their photos but rather the violation of their privacy that those photos represent.

“Why would she take such risqué photos?” is a form of victim-blaming that we do not place on other victims of online crime. Laws against identity theft have been passed to keep up with advancing technology. If your identity is stolen no one asks, “Why do you bank online? Didn’t you know your financial information could be stolen?” Yet these are the kinds of question victims of revenge porn face. The real problem is a cultural one stemming from feelings of entitlement.

Women’s bodies are public property for men to use as they please, regardless of the woman’s feelings about it. It is time for the law to reflect the realities of technology that women face.

There’s a term for seizing access to a woman’s sexuality without her permission, and it’s not “leak” or post. It’s time to address and enforce revenge porn as the sex crimes that they are.

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