Monday, March 16, 2015

New UK laws against "revenge porn"

Back in January, I was contacted by the UK's Ministry of Justice to ask me whether I could support their campaign against revenge porn on this blog.

In case anyone hasn't heard of it, a good definition of revenge porn is "the sharing of intimate, sexual images of a person without their consent and with the intention of causing them distress". A typical scenario would be when a couple take intimate pictures or videos for fun during their relationship, but then when the relationship comes to an end, one of the couple take revenge on the other by making the images public.

However in the near future, making those kinds of images public is going to be an offence under UK law, punishable by up to two years in prison. The Ministry of Justice is also running a campaign Be Aware B4 You Share with hashtag #NoToRevengePorn to try and make everyone aware of the new offence and corresponding punishments.

Thinking about the issues here, although I have a few intimate pictures of my ex-boyfriends, there's nothing that might cause me to make them public. For me it would be like discussing the sexual preferences of an ex-partner in order to make fun of them, which is similarly a very nasty thing to do. People don't tend to discuss their ex-partner's preferences, so keeping images or videos private should fall into the same category of behaviour. What happens in the bedroom should stay there!

Looking back, ex-boyfriend R (a.k.a. boyfriend number 3) was very shy about allowing me to have ANY electronic image of him. He always said that with electronic images, one could never be certain where they might end up on the internet, so he didn’t let anyone have any. Similarly, although I've got lots of photos of ex-boyfriend T with clothes on, I don't have any intimate images of him. I always remember the trip to Paris with him before we became boyfriends. I took a picture of his naked buttocks while he was getting undressed but unfortunately he forced me to delete it! I guess he was scared where such images might end up as well. However, I've still got some slightly naughty pics of ex-boyfriend S (a.k.a. boyfriend number 1), although I keep them well guarded :-).

Regarding images of me, I seem to recall that ex-boyfriend R (a.k.a. boyfriend number 3) might have an intimate video of me taken on his mobile phone a few years ago. However when I asked him about it last year, he said that he couldn't remember. He's probably telling the truth, because he's a slightly dis-organised person, so if it did ever exist it's almost certainly been lost as he's upgraded his phone over the years.

When I was contacted by the UK's Ministry of Justice back in January, one of the things they said is that they'd be interested to hear from people who'd been the victim of revenge porn. It may be that they're not interested anymore, because it's been about two months since I received the original email, and it looks like their campaign may be over. Nonetheless, in case they are still interested, please send me an email if you've been affected by revenge porn and I'll forward it on to them. Alternatively, all comments on this post are welcome (as usual), especially it's done in such a way that it's possible to contact the commenter to follow up :-).