Revenge Porn

The term “revenge porn,” though frequently used, is somewhat misleading. Many perpetrators are not motivated by revenge or by any personal feelings toward the victim. A more accurate term is nonconsensual pornography, defined as the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent. This includes both images originally obtained without consent (e.g. by using hidden cameras, hacking phones, or recording sexual assaults) as well as images consensually obtained within the context of an intimate relationship.

Nonconsensual pornography transforms unwilling individuals into sexual entertainment for strangers. A vengeful ex-partner or opportunistic hacker can upload an explicit image of a victim to a website where thousands of people can view it and hundreds of other websites can share it. In a matter of days, that image can dominate the first several pages of “hits” on the victim’s name in a search engine, as well as being emailed or otherwise exhibited to the victim’s family, employers, co-workers, and peers.

About one in 25 Americans are either threatened with or victims of nonconsensual image sharing, or “revenge porn” as it’s more commonly known. That equates to roughly 10 million Americans, according to a study published by the Data & Society Research Institute.  

Anyone can be a victim of revenge porn including women and men of all ages. A simple Google search of “ex revenge” brings up over forty million search results. The top results include revenge porn websites hosting nude photos of ex-girlfriends posted by scorned lovers. There are also many dedicated to hosting the materials stolen by hackers, as in the case of the leaked nude celebrities photos mentioned above.

Though men are more likely to submit revenge porn than women are, they are not the only ones who are scorning and objectifying people who choose to share their private photos and videos with someone they trust. Websites like Shesahomewrecker.com is a place for wives to share photos of the women who they suspect are their husband’s lovers. While these are not always explicit, they can include personal information like the victim’s name and location alongside personal stories from the scorned wives detailing how they found out about the cheating.

 Who Facilitates Revenge Porn?

  • The hacker or person who submits or releases the photos and videos.
  • The website that the photos and videos.
  • The users who view the photos and videos.
  • The people who share the photos and videos.
  • News reports that tell you where the photos and videos are hosted.

If you are a victim of revenge porn it can be very difficult to get your photo removed from the website. Many of them will try charging you hundreds of dollars, and still may not remove your photo. That is not the worst of it; if you google your name then there pops up the nude photo of you, along with all your information. The website End Revenge Porn (link provided at the end of this lesson) provides some basic information for getting your photo removed. They have instructions on how to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to have photos taken by you removed from websites. They also have a list of legal representatives across the country do pro bono work to assist victims of revenge porn.

WARP has a page detailing how to submit a DMCA take down notice. Bekah Wells includes a sample of a notice and instructions on how to submit it directly to the website hosting your photo or video.

Because websites can refuse to take down your photos, you can submit the DMCA to search engines to disable the links to your photos. You should also file a report with your local law enforcement agency. There are many cases where revenge porn is a crime including:

  • Photos and videos of underage victims.
  • Photos and videos taken without consent.
  • Photos and videos stolen or hacked from your computer.

How to Remove “revenge porn” from Google
Google recognizes that the non-consensual sharing of nude and sexually explicit images and videos (often referred to as “revenge porn”) is distressing. These instructions are intended to help you through the process for requesting that these images and videos be removed from Google search results.

We can only remove image or video that meets our requirements. So that we can help you, please make sure that your request meets these requirements:

  • You are nude or shown in a sexual act
  • The content was intended to be private
  • You never consented to the content being publicly available 

While we can prevent a page from appearing in our search results, we are not able to remove content from websites that host it, so we recommend reaching out to the webmaster for the site to request removal first.

To request that this content be removed from Google search results, please use this form. You may also have an authorized representative complete the form on your behalf.

Tips for filling out the image removals form

1) Under the section for which type of content you would like to remove, please select ‘a picture of myself.’

2) You will need to provide the following information for removal:

  • Your full name
  • Country
  • Contact email address
  • URL for where the content is live, if applicable
  • A sample URL of Google search results where the image or video appears
  • Screenshots of the offending content, which will help us ensure that we are removing the correct results. We encourage you to use image-editing software to obscure the sexually explicit portions of the screenshots, but please ensure that they will help us identify the specific content you wish to be removed.

For more information and help if you find yourself a victim of revenge porn visit the End Revenge Porn website at www.endrevengeporn.org.

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