Revenge Porn Now a Crime in California

Posting intimate pictures of your ex on the internet with the intent to inflict serious emotional distress is now a crime in California.

First Amendment advocates like the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation opposed this new law. They argue that the law infringed on one’s Constitutionally protected right to share information the public needs to know.

Victim advocates like the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative on the other hand believe the new statute does not go far enough because it only protects victims whose photos were taken by the perpetrator.  The statute does not take into account photos taken by the victim but shared without their permission.

Other critics point out that it might be too hard to prove that a perpetrator of “revenge porn” intended to inflict serious emotional distress. Indeed, there are many other reasons why one might post a pornographic photo without their ex’s consent: extortion, compensation, to brag, or even as a joke.

Anthony Cannella, the senator who authored the bill admits, “I think this is a great first step… But we need to do more.” For now, the hope is that the threat of a $1000 fine or six months in jail is enough to deter folks from committing revenge porn.

As an organization in search of justice outside of the prison industrial complex, the Alipato Project is hesitant to celebrate yet another “crime” added to the books.

We strongly believe that as a society, we should focus on addressing the harms caused to a survivor instead of on the wrongs committed by a perpetrator.

Our office currently represents a survivor whose ex-partner allegedly shared intimate photos of her without her consent. However, instead of arguing that her ex should go to jail, we argue that he should financially compensate our client for the emotional distress he inflicted on her.

This type of solution gives victims the money they need to pay for counseling sessions and other forms of therapy that restore dignity and promote healing.

As for deterring future acts of “revenge porn,” we as a community need to work toward a major culture-shift. Together, we can and must strive for a society in which what is labeled “shameful” and “embarrassing” isn’t that intimate photos have been made public, but the malicious act of posting another’s pornographic photos without their consent.

Since 2400 BCE

One of our board members, Tara Ramanthan, is doing just that. She is building a group for male-identified folks to discuss masculinity, gender violence, patriarchy, sex, and love. Help her promote community and healing by giving her feedback in this survey.

One thought on “Revenge Porn Now a Crime in California

  1. Pingback: The New Type of Porn | Criminal Law in the Virtual Context

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