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Revenge Content & You: How to Keep Your Intimate Content off the Net

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We’ve all been there. When bad break-ups go worse. Someone flies off the handle and decides to do something rash. This could be an ex-girlfriend throwing your clothes in the street, or a husband throwing his wife’s make-up in the toilet in a fit of rage. But thanks to the Internet this spiteful behavior can do much more damage. 

In the digital age of doxxing, cyberbullying, and other online drama it’s a little too easy for people to take their anger to the Internet. It’s possible someone may decide to leak personal photos or videos. What happens if your intimate photos or videos get leaked online by an angry ex? What are your options?

This is a crime commonly known as  “revenge porn,” intimate image abuse, and nonconsensual pornography. The name may vary but the issue is still the same. Someone has shared adult content of you without your consent. As traumatic as this may be, at least the law has you covered. 

Fighting back against revenge porn

Generally speaking, it’s illegal to share any adult content without consent. All adult content requires legal consent forms, age verifications, and often follows laws most people don’t think about. The added fact that this is malicious and an attempt to cause damages also steps up the severity of this crime. 

There are only four states in the US where intimate image abuse is not illegal. If you’re curious: Wyoming, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Massachusetts all do not currently have any laws on the books for intimate image abuse. Charges can vary from a misdemeanor to a felony in states with laws covering revenge content. For a full list of the states and regulations, you can check out Ballotopedia’s full list of laws governing revenge porn.

What to do if it happens to you?

If you happen to find intimate photos of yourself online or you are concerned about potential threats of a vengeful ex, know that while the situation can be monumentally stressful you have options because the law is on your side. 

You may want to collect some evidence and involve law enforcement. You may decide to press charges against the person who leaked your content. By involving law enforcement, there is a good chance that the person who violated your privacy will be brought to justice. 

There may be a short delay in removing your content if you decide to involve the police. You’ll want to ensure that they are able to collect proper evidence. You’ll also want to keep a copy of the content as evidence. 

Many adult websites and even search engines have options to have the content removed. If you decide to handle it yourself, you can reach out to these websites. For example, you can fill out this form or this help request to have your content removed from Google. There is also a form for Yahoo and Bing

Facebook also has a Not Without My Consent pilot program that allows you to upload content to ensure it’s removed across all of its websites. This helps make sure that your intimate photos don’t end up on Facebook or Instagram. You can also find more information about stopping non-consensual image abuse at StopNCII.org.

How to find help for intimate image abuse or revenge content

StopNCII.org, The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, The Cyber Helpline, and the UK’s Revenge Porn Helpline are all organizations that offer support to those dealing with intimate image abuse. They can help by providing support, in-depth resources, and a full understanding of your options. Even just looking through their articles, you can more effectively know your rights and how to quickly get your content removed. 

Having your intimate photos or videos on the Internet can be mortifying, but that doesn’t mean that you are powerless over the situation. The law and most websites, even adult ones, do not want content on the Internet without consent. Here’s hoping this article has armed you to protect your privacy and know your rights. 

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