let's talk about: revenge porn.

The term ‘revenge porn’ has circulated the media in recent times, with victims advocating for awareness around it and the privacy it violates. It is important that we can define revenge porn accurately and know what to do if we find ourselves victim to this crime.

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what is revenge porn?

Revenge porn is the act of sharing private sexual materials with the intent to cause distress. The material can be both photo or video that is shared and sometimes taken without the subjects consent. This includes the sharing of material that would not be seen in public and involves anything that a reasonable person would consider sexual. Such as, genitals, engaging in sexual behaviours or posing provocatively. From this month forward the offence now includes the threatening to share explicit images. Being found guilty of this crime will result in a prison sentence of up to two years.


The reality is that revenge porn affects a lot of people. Incidents surged during the pandemic with The Revenge Porn Helplinereceiving 2,000 reports of non-consensual photography in 2020, 22% more than 2019. In fact, around 15% of Britons aged 18-45 said intimate sexual pictures of them had been shared without their consent in 2021.


Reassuringly, steps are being made to protect victims of this offence. As part of a new Law Commission review focusing on online abuse, revenge porn victims could be granted anonymity, meaning they can no longer be named publicly. Currently, revenge porn is classified under a communications crime and, as a result, victims are not granted automatic anonymity given to victims of sexual abuse. Cyber-flashing and deepfake pornography will also be reviewed to determine whether it should be criminalised.


what to do if you’re a victim.

First things first, report it to the police by calling 101, if you believe you are in immediate danger call 999. Just as importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help and ring The Revenge Porn Helpline, where you can speak to their helpline practitioners for confidential advice and support on everything from social media community guidelines, content removal and legal advice, and what evidence you need to gather when reporting the crime to authorities.


If the intimate materials were shared on social media, report it for violating community guidelines. Keep all the evidence before doing this, so you can share it with authorities. Include timestamps and the name/names of who posted the material. This may seem overwhelming but asking for help will allow you to be guided and reassured throughout this process.


This can be a really scary time and it’s important to know that you are not alone. Make sure you confide in family and friends. You may feel embarrassed about the material shared but you mustn’t feel ashamed, none of this is your fault and you need to talk to people and share your feelings. Don’t bottle things up.


Try and find ongoing support. Pressing charges can be a long process, with your private life being shared with strangers. Make sure you have a constant source of support and remember to look out for your future self as the process of suddenly being a victim to a serious crime can have lasting effects. Be gentle and kind to yourself.


The concept and reality of revenge porn is scary, intimidating and something no one can predict. However, it is important to remember no matter what happens you are not to blame and you are not alone. The more we talk about issues such as these, the more we can do to prevent and educate. Let’s be part of the solution.

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