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The Woman Helping To Fix Revenge Porn

The Woman Helping To Fix Revenge Porn 4

The hacking of Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures along with other celebrities is one thing, but revenge porn, where disgruntled partners and others publish nude pictures of others is a growing problem. Charlotte Laws, however, is taking the battle right back to the perpetrators.

Charlotte Laws helped draft California’s anti revenge porn bill, even though many believe it does not go far enough. She has a personal reason to be involved in the matter because, as she told a school meeting:

“My daughter was a victim of revenge porn,” Laws says, her voice carrying through the drowsy auditorium. “There are thousands of victims around the country; most of them are women. Revenge porn is when a nude or topless picture is posted on the internet without consent, along with the victim’s name, city, workplace, social media link, and other identifying information. The goal is to humiliate a woman, ruining her life, and driving her to suicide.”

She’s not squeamish about the details, explaining that a handful of states already have revenge porn bills on the books, and another 22 states are currently working on them. “Will you be bold and take a stand on this issue?” she asks Sherman. “Can we count on you to introduce a law?”

California’s first anti-revenge porn bill — a bill that Laws actually helped draft — was heavily criticized for not going far enough when it was passed last year.

It made nonconsensually distributing explicit photographs a misdemeanor, but it didn’t apply to selfies. “With today’s technology, people take as many pictures of themselves as they take of anyone else,” Sherman says pensively to the mostly gray-haired audience lounging placidly in the crowd. “It ought to be illegal nationwide, and it ought to apply to distributing that which should remain private, for the sole purpose of hurting somebody.”

Laws and Sherman might never have had occasion to be in the same room together if not for Hunter Moore, the man whose website posted photos of Laws’ daughter. Often called the King of Revenge Porn, Moore has been arrested following an FBI investigation. As he awaits his court date, those going after individuals who steal and share intimate photos are facing an increasingly unwinnable game of whack-a-mole; revenge porn is becoming less centralized, more common, and harder to trace.

After this week’s massive leak of nude photos, many of which appear to have been taken from over a dozen celebrities’ iCloud accounts, people are again asking: If this can happen to the likes of Jennifer Lawrence or Kate Upton, how are average women expected to track down — and take down — nude photos tweeted by an angry ex-boyfriend or posted to 4chan by an anonymous stranger? Can revenge porn be stopped?

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