Reputation Defenders

How to fight Revenge Porn?

How to fight Revenge Porn?
Maria Martin

18 min

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How to fight Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn is a very serious crime. If you've been attacked or know anyone who has been, here's everything you should do to fight back and prevent attacks from happening again.

What is Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn is often called "nonconsensual pornography" since the images typically depict people engaged in sex acts against their will. But revenge porn doesn't necessarily involve coercion. Instead, it involves someone taking intimate pictures or videos of another person without permission and posting those images online to humiliate or harm them.

While revenge porn usually refers to photos and videos taken by former partners, it can include anything that depicts an individual engaged in sexual activity — including texts, emails, social media posts, and even selfies. Victims of revenge porn may find themselves harassed, stalked, blackmailed, or otherwise harmed because of the illegal distribution of their confidential material.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates that nearly 5 million Americans have been victimized by revenge porn, and that number is likely much larger due to underreporting.

How Does This Happen?

Most cases of revenge porn start with a relationship gone wrong. Someone with feelings for a partner takes photographs or records footage of a romantic encounter. They might take photos or record the video to get revenge or want to document what happened. Regardless of why they took the photo or video, once it's out there, it's almost impossible to delete.

Once the image or video is leaked online, it becomes a part of the Internet forever. They may send it via email or text message, posted on Facebook or Instagram, or upload it to a file-sharing site like Dropbox. Once it's online, it can be challenging to track down the source. And while some sites offer tools to help you scrub your digital footprint, many need to work better. For example, Google Photos deletes your files automatically after 30 days, leaving behind metadata that could lead investigators to your identity.

Even if you're not targeted directly, your friends and family might see the picture or video and recognize you. If you've ever had a secret crush on someone, you know how painful it can be to discover that they secretly recorded or photographed you having sex. Even worse, they might post that same image or video to multiple platforms, making it easier for anyone to identify you.

How is revenge porn obtained?

Revenge porn isn't always about sharing a naked photo of someone you dated or slept with. Sometimes, it involves obtaining intimate photos without consent. This type of exploitation is called nonconsensual pornography (NCP). NCP includes sextortion, where people demand money or threaten to release embarrassing information about victims; swatting, where people call emergency services pretending to be under attack; and stalkerazzi, where people take pictures of strangers without their knowledge.

In some instances, revenge porn is perpetrated by a single person against multiple targets. In others, it's a group effort involving hundreds or even thousands of people. The latter is known as a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack. Hackers use botnets—networks of infected computers controlled remotely—to flood sites with traffic, making them inaccessible. These attacks are used to protest net neutrality or extort companies.

The most common method of obtaining NCP is through malware installed on your device. Malware can be anything from spyware to ransomware. Ransomware locks your files and demands payment in exchange for unlocking them. Cybercriminals installed malware on your computer or mobile phone via phishing emails or malicious attachments. Once installed, the malware secretly records videos and photographs and sends them to the hacker's server.

Cybercriminals sometimes hack into homes and networks to access data stored there. For example, they may use a camera hidden inside a baby monitor to record video and still shots of babies sleeping. Or they might use a security camera to capture footage of unsuspecting homeowners walking around their houses.

Another popular way criminals obtain NCP is by gaining physical access to a victim's property. They could break in and steal your belongings if they know where you live. They could also gain access to your home network and intercept your internet connection. Then, they could use software to view your webcam, listen to your conversations, or read your messages.

If you suspect that someone has been hacked, contact law enforcement immediately. You don't need to provide proof of identity. However, it helps if you can describe what happened and how long it lasted.

Where does revenge porn end up?

Revenge porn is widely shared on sites such as Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. But most people don't realize how easy it is to find those images online. They're often shared via "expose groups," where members post photos of women they've had relationships with without their consent. These are often anonymous, making it difficult to track down the person responsible. This makes it harder to hold them accountable.

Before Facebook tightened its content regulations in 2018, it was possible to upload revenge porn there. And while the site has since banned nude photos and videos, many people still use it to share intimate moments.

The anonymity of these revenge porn sites makes them ideal for sharing. Search engines don't index the sites, so finding them requires digging. On the dark web, where most illegal activity occurs, you'll find even more places to share intimate images.

How Common is Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn is one of those topics that most people don't want to talk about, even though it happens every day. But according to CCRI, revenge porn is becoming increasingly prevalent. In fact, researchers found that nearly half of respondents reported having experienced some form of online sexual abuse. Of course, there are different types of revenge porn, including sharing intimate photos without consent.

The victims of this type of crime often feel ashamed and embarrassed, and the perpetrators usually know exactly what they did wrong. They often use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., to post images. Sometimes, they take advantage of mobile device's privacy settings to ensure that no one sees what they are doing. Other times, they use apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, Kik, etc., to send the pictures directly to their intended targets. All too often, they do this anonymously.

In addition to the emotional trauma caused by exposure, victims also face financial problems because of the damage to their reputations. Many employers will refuse to hire someone whose personal life has been ruined by revenge porn. And if you do find work, you might experience discrimination.

Psychological distress

The term "revenge porn" describes intimate images shared without consent. These images are often posted online without context or explanation. They're meant to humiliate someone rather than help them. Victims of revenge porn suffer from a range of emotional and physical problems, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, night terrors, panic attacks, flashbacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A study published in 2017 found that people who are targeted by revenge porn typically experience symptoms like those listed above. Researchers surveyed 986 people about their experiences with revenge porn and found that most had experienced some form of trauma. They also reported feeling anxious, depressed, sleepless, and having nightmares.

Damaged reputation

The concept of "revenge porn" is fairly straightforward. Someone takes a photo or video of another person and posts it online without consent. This could happen because of a relationship breakdown, a failed romantic encounter, or simply because the person doesn't want anyone else to see something embarrassing.

But while revenge porn can come in many forms, it's usually accompanied by shaming, blaming, and harassment. And while it's easy to assume that victims of revenge porn deserve it, the reality is much different. In most cases, the victim isn't actually responsible for the content being posted online.

Most people who upload revenge porn aren't doing so maliciously. They don't intend to hurt the victim; rather, they share images or videos of themselves with others. But once the photos or videos are out there, it becomes impossible to take them down.

And that's where things go wrong. Once the photos or videos are shared online, they become part of an individual's digital footprint. As such, they can negatively affect someone's reputation, especially if they've been involved in some sort of scandal in the past.

This is particularly true for women. Because society tends to associate sex crimes with women, it's common for women who've had consensual sex to be accused of rape or assault. So when a woman is sexually assaulted or raped, her image can be permanently altered by the actions of another person.

As a result, women who find themselves in situations like this can face serious consequences. For example, they can lose their jobs, be evicted from housing, or even lose custody of their children. Even if they manage to clear their name, the damage done to their reputation can make it hard to rebuild trust.

So how do we fix this problem? First, we must recognize that revenge porn is never acceptable. Second, we need to change our culture's attitudes toward sexuality. We need to stop treating sex as taboo and start talking openly about it. Finally, we need to hold perpetrators accountable.

Deepfakes: A New Type of Revenge Porn

The world of deepfake porn is terrifying. Nonconsensual pornography is already out of control, but we're about to see a new level of abuse. As technology advances, the ability to manipulate images and videos improves, allowing people to alter faces, bodies, and even voices digitally. And now, thanks to artificial intelligence, those altered images are getting easier and easier to produce.

In 2018, researchers from Sensity AI found that 90% to 95%, depending on where you live, of all deepfake content online is nonconsensual pornography. That includes everything from fake celebrity nudes to porn featuring real victims.

And while most of us don't think much about taking photos of ourselves without our consent, there's a good chance that someone else did. Because of how easy it is to take a picture nowadays, anyone can do it. So, what happens next?

What To Do if You're a Victim of Revenge Porn?

When it comes to revenge porn, many people out there think it's okay to post nude pictures of others online. Some people even consider it a form of empowerment. But what happens when those photos end up being used against you? It isn't much you can do about it unless you want to sue the person who posted the image.

While revenge porn is illegal in many states, it's still legal in most parts of Canada. And while it's technically illegal everywhere, the penalties are usually very light. So if you're a victim of revenge porn, don't worry too much about getting arrested. Instead, focus on taking down the image itself.

The best way to do that is to contact the site where the image was originally uploaded and ask them to delete it. Some sites like Facebook and Twitter allow you to report posts directly, and others require you to file a DMCA takedown notice.

If you're lucky enough to find the original poster, you'll likely convince them to take down the image themselves. But if you can't reach them, there are plenty of companies that specialize in helping victims of revenge porn. They'll go into the image and try to scrub it clean and then send it to law enforcement.

Collect evidence

Revenge porn sites often hide behind proxies and anonymous accounts, making it difficult to gather evidence against those involved. But there are ways to make sure that you capture everything. Here are some tips to keep in mind while collecting evidence.

Take Screenshots

If you're sharing images online, take screenshots of the site and save them somewhere safe. This way, you'll always have access to what happened. You can even do this via text messages.

Use Private Email Services

Email providers like Gmail offer end-to-end encryption, meaning that no one besides you and the recipient can read the contents. Even if someone does manage to intercept your emails, they won't know anything about what's inside.

Store Your Evidence Safely

If you're concerned about privacy, consider storing your evidence in the cloud. There are many options, including Dropbox, iCloud Drive, OneDrive, Google Drive, and Amazon Cloud Drive. These services encrypt data stored on their servers, ensuring your information stays private.

Know your rights

Revenge porn is technically legal in most parts of the United States. However, the laws vary widely from one state to another. Some states consider it a misdemeanor, while others make it a felony. Sometimes, even posting nude photos without consent could lead to charges.

While the degree of criminality varies depending on where you live, there are laws targeting revenge pornography that you can fall back upon. For example, the Cyberstalking Prevention Act of 2011 makes it illegal to send someone sexually explicit images via email or text messages.

On the CCRI website, visitors can see an overview of revenge porn laws and what to do if they think they've been victimized. You can also talk to a representative about your situation.

You can also contact your local police department. If they determine that revenge porn has taken place, they can help prosecute offenders.

Legislation

In recent months, we've seen a rise in lawsuits filed against individuals accused of posting nude photos online without consent. These cases typically involve people who post explicit images of others, usually women, without their knowledge or permission. While some states offer protection under "revenge porn" laws, many don't. As such, victims must rely on civil suits to hold offenders accountable.

The law varies by jurisdiction, but most require that you prove that someone took the photo without your consent and posted it publicly. If you're able to show that, you'll likely win damages. However, proving that someone did take the picture without your permission can be challenging. For starters, it's difficult to tell whether someone deleted the image once they realized what they'd done.

Cyber Harassment

If you believe another person violated your privacy, consider filing a lawsuit. But even if you succeed in winning a judgment, it won't necessarily prevent the individual from continuing to harass you. After all, he could move to another location where he doesn't live with his family or friends.

That's why many people turn to digital takedown services like Reputation Defenders. This site provides a way for you to submit a DMCA notice requesting that the offending material be removed from the Internet. Once the images are taken offline, you can no longer access them. And since the service is free, you don't have to worry about paying a lawyer to handle the matter.

Extortion

While the above scenarios deal solely with pictures, there are plenty of instances where people threaten to release embarrassing information unless you pay up. In those situations, you'll likely contact local law enforcement. They'll investigate the claim and determine whether charges are warranted.

Important resources

Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), a nonprofit organization that supports survivors of cyberbullying and revenge porn, offers free legal assistance for those victimized by online abuse. Their 24/7 crisis hotline provides confidential support to anyone experiencing online abuse. They are also working to develop comprehensive legislation that addresses online bullying and sexual assault.

The organization also maintains a database of global resources per country. This includes information about local organizations, government agencies, and law enforcement that help and support victims of online abuse.

Are you underage?

The Internet is full of young teens sharing sexual photos and videos without consent. While some images are just fun, others could potentially put children at risk of exploitation. And there are laws against posting such material, even if it doesn't involve minors.

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, most cases involving sexting occur among peers. About half of kids ages 12 to 17 say they've sent nude pictures of themselves via cell phone. But while many parents know how to spot inappropriate behavior, they don't always understand what constitutes child pornography.

If you're under 18 and someone posts sexually graphic images of you online, you might think nothing of it. After all, everyone does it. But if you're underage and someone spreads explicit images or videos of yourself online, this can be called child pornography.

The best way to avoid becoming a victim of sextortion is to never send naked selfies or porn clips to anyone over the Internet. You could end up exposing yourself to predators who want to exploit you.

You could also face criminal charges if you're guilty of sending obscene materials to another person. Under federal law, anyone under 18 is legally incapable of giving consent to sex acts. So if you're under 18 and receive or send pornographic images, you could be charged with possessing child pornography.

And depending on where you live, you could be breaking the law simply by viewing pornography. Some states consider watching X-rated movies or reading erotica illegal. For example, California makes it unlawful for anyone under 21 to view "obscene matter."

So if you're underage and look at explicit images of adults, you could be violating state law. Even though you're not physically involved in the act, you could still be prosecuted for possessing child pornography.

How to Prevent Revenge Porn

Revenge porn isn't always linked to sexual assault and harassment. Sometimes, someone takes advantage of another person's trust and sends intimate photos without permission. In fact, according to a 2017 study conducted by Pew Research Center, nearly one in five women say they've experienced some form of nonconsensual pornography. And while most victims don't report their experiences, many seek help.

The good news is that there are ways to avoid being victimized. For example, you can take steps to ensure that your personal information stays safe. You can also use strong passwords and encrypt your data files. Finally, you can practice self-care and seek support if you become a victim yourself.

Don't let others film or photograph you without your consent.

If you ever find yourself being filmed or photographed against your will, there are things you can do about it. You don't have to accept someone else taking pictures of you, whether it's your significant other, a friend, or a stranger. Even if you think it might be funny, remember that people take photos and videos of everything, including you.

The most important thing to remember is that no one has permission to record you without your knowledge and consent. There are ways you can protect yourself, even if you're not technically savvy.

First, know what types of cameras are out there. Most smartphones come with built-in cameras, while some laptops have front-facing webcams. Cameras can be found on many devices, such as tablets, too. Regardless of your device, ensure you know how to turn off the camera.

You probably already know that you shouldn't post nude photos online. But did you know that you could face legal repercussions for posting images of others? In fact, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, "the law treats possession of child pornography just like possession of real child abuse."

That doesn't mean you should take naked selfies, but if someone tries to blackmail you or threaten you, you can turn over evidence to authorities. And if you suspect that someone has taken explicit photos of you, you can contact the police.

In addition, you can always file a complaint with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. They can help identify potential predators and inform local law enforcement agencies.

Finally, one way to prevent someone from recording you is to ask them to stop. Refrain from feeling pressured into doing something you don't want to do. Instead, politely tell them to stop filming you. If they refuse to comply, call the police.

Protect your identity in intimate photos

The Internet is full of people posting embarrassing pictures of themselves online — some are just trying to show off, while others are looking for attention. But there are ways to protect yourself against being identified. Here are four tips.

#1. Don't post naked selfies.

If you want to take sexy pics, do it somewhere else. There's no reason to put yourself out there like that. Plus, if someone does recognize you, they might think you're bragging about something inappropriate.

#2. Keep your face covered.

You don't always have to cover your entire body. Just keep your eyes closed and your mouth shut. This way, you won't expose anything that could identify you. And if you know you'll be sharing the image with many people, consider taking a few extra steps to hide your face. For example, use a piece of tape over your lips. Or ask a friend to hold up a sign that says, "Nude selfie taken without consent."

#3. Blur your face.

Blurring your face isn't always possible, but it can help. Most cameras today automatically blur faces, and many apps allow you to blur specific parts of your face too. So if you're worried about having your face revealed, try blurring your head or hands.

Turn off geo-tagging on your devices.

If you want to keep your personal information safe, there are several ways to do so. One of those ways is turning off the ability to tag your location within your images. You can do this by taking a screenshot of the image you want to upload and saving it elsewhere. Once saved, you can delete the original file, making sure to save a copy somewhere else just in case something goes wrong.

Another option is to use a VPN app. These apps encrypt data sent over the Internet. They don't necessarily hide where you are, making it harder for anyone to track your movements online.

Optimize your social media privacy settings

While you might think your medial social accounts are private, it's relatively easy for people to access information from your account. They could find out where you live, your phone number, your email address, your password, and even your name.

This is why it's important to ensure your privacy settings are optimized. You want to make sure that no one else can see anything about you, especially if you don't want others to know certain things about you.

Here are some tips to help keep your personal information safe.

  1. Be careful about posting pictures online. Turn off your flash if you're taking a picture of something you don't want anyone to see.
  2. Delete old posts. If you post something embarrassing or sensitive, delete it immediately. Don't worry; you won't lose any followers because of it.
  3. Use different passwords for each site. Make sure you use a strong password that includes numbers, capital letters, and special symbols.
  4. Never give out your real name. Instead, try using a nickname or username.

Talk to your kids

Finally, it can be good for parents to talk to their children about sexting. But it can be important to do so without scaring them off. While teens are naturally curious about seeding, teaching them how to protect their privacy and avoid dangerous situations can be helpful.

Parents can start by asking questions like: What exactly does sexting mean? How did you find out about sexting? Why do people send each other pictures of their bodies? Should I worry about my child being a victim of sexting abuse? And what can we do to keep our family safe online?

In addition to talking to your children about seeding, there are some things you can do to help make sure your teen isn't victimized by someone else. For example, don't give out your password. If you're worried about your child getting into trouble because of sexting, consider setting up a separate email account. Also, remember that seeding only sometimes involves sending images. Some apps allow teens to chat with friends while taking selfies; those apps might be safer alternatives to texting.

Internet Safety: Protect Yourself Online

Here are some tips to keep yourself safe online:

  1. Use a secure browser like Chrome or Firefox.
  2. Be careful what you post on social media sites.
  3. Only download files from trusted sources.
  4. Keep software updated.
  5. Don't give out personal information unless you know who you're talking to.
  6. Never give out financial information over email.

Why is revenge porn so popular?

Revenge porn isn't just about sharing naked photos without consent. There are many motivations behind it, including vengeance, control over someone else, extortion, harassment, or simply misogynistic behavior. The rise of deep fakes and AI tools makes it easier to manipulate people into doing things they don't want to do. Women who have never sent anybody a nude photo can be sexually humiliated in AI-manipulated pornography.

On some forums and websites (Reddit /r/revengeporn, 4chan, 8chan), men who share images receive praise and become very popular. There are entire communities where men who share nudes are celebrated and gain lots of attention. This phenomenon is called "nudelock," and it's becoming increasingly common.

The most famous example of nudelocking is probably the infamous case of Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama. He had been accused of sexual misconduct against several teenage girls. After he lost his election, the media published dozens of nude pictures of him taken during his high school days. He sued the newspaper for defamation and won $150,000 in damages. But he didn't stop there; he went on to sue another publisher for publishing similar images.

Is revenge porn a crime?

The definition of "revenge porn," according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, is "the sharing of sexually explicit images without the subject's consent." This type of behavior is often called nonconsensual pornography, or NCP. Currently, 48 US states and DC have laws protecting individuals from nonconsensual pornography, while two territories -- Guam and Puerto Rico -- have no such legislation. But even though laws exist, law enforcement still struggles to control certain online spaces, including the dark web.

In 2016, the FBI launched Operation Pacifier, an investigation into child sexual abuse imagery distribution. During the operation, investigators seized nearly $1 million worth of illegal material, including videos depicting children being raped and forced to perform sex acts. While some of those arrested had been convicted of crimes involving child pornography, they found many others to be distributing illicit materials via the dark web.

According to the NCMEC, about one in four victims of nonconsensual pornography experience stalking or harassment. Victims are usually threatened with physical harm or death, and sometimes their personal information is posted publicly. In addition, many victims suffer mental health issues due to the trauma associated with the incident.

Updated

November 19, 2022

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