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  • Revenge Porn a Growing Issue

    Revenge porn itself is a relatively newly popularised form of on-line abuse, where a person can be exposed or humiliated in front of a global audience without any cause. DESIblitz explores its detrimental effects.

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    "It may not be the ex-partner that is behind the posting – but a friend or relative."

    While the digital age has given credence to a world of innovative possibility, it has also become vulnerable to misuse, harassment and unquestionable violation.

    The latest trend of Internet abuse is the sharing of ‘sexually explicit’ images of an individual without their prior consent, also known as revenge porn.

    Ever taken a sexy picture to send to your partner, or even filmed something more explicit to show them in private?

    Revenge porn is a form of cyber-bulling usually occurring between ex-partners and couples who have been intimate with each other.

    Revenge Porn a Growing IssueAfter a messy breakup, one partner may seek to take out their anger and frustration by sharing intimate pictures of their ex on-line. Such an act can shame and disgrace a person in front of others, including friends and close family.

    Rupinder Bains from legal firm, Pinder Reaux, which deals with numerous cases of revenge porn, tells us: “The images posted are often highlighted in social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to alert others in the victim’s circle of the photos.”

    Digital media is not just posted onto social networks; various websites have been purposed specifically for revenge porn, with 30 such sites existing in the UK alone. They allow you to offer full details of an individual, including name, contact details, social media, and even place of work.

    Revenge porn is significantly more common in America as opposed to the UK, where it has already been criminalised across nine states. In one case, 24-year-old American Desi, Anisha Vora’s ex-boyfriend shared sexually explicit images of her on a number of websites:

    Anisha Vora“I went from three sites to over 200. My ex was putting my address out, my phone number. I stopped going to school for a year and a half. I was afraid to leave my house,” says Anisha who lives in New Jersey.

    After taking action against him, Anisha was able to have the images taken down, and her ex was jailed for six months: “I had known him for more than 10 years, it wasn’t a nasty break-up we just went our own separate ways. I never thought he would post the photos.”

    Similar incidents are also on the rise across India. In June 2014, a 28-year-old man called Ashish Dasgupta was arrested for posting his ex-wife’s nude videos onto a porn website. He was charged with ‘assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty’.

    Employers who now regularly track social media of current employees and future ones, can also unexpectedly come across these images, potentially ruining career prospects. As Rupinder explains:

    “If the victim works in the public eye, an employer will need to think very carefully about the impact this could have on the business and a decision will have to be made as to whether to continue with this person in their business.

    “What was intended to be highly personal and private, can become public in an instant and the ramifications can be severe.”

    Smartphone usersIn the UK, revenge porn is a growing problem, with many seeking to criminalise it. The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, founded by Holly Jacobs, started the campaign ‘End Revenge Porn’. Women’s Aid Charity have also supported the issue by linking it to a form of domestic violence.

    Minister of Justice, Chris Grayling, has also expressed the seriousness of revenge porn and how it needs governmental discussion. However, Rupinder is adamant that a full-fledged law is not a necessity in the UK as it is already a chargeable offence:

    “There is legislation in place with the Communications Act and the Protection From Harassment Act which covers the dissemination of material, electronically or otherwise, which has been done with the intention of causing alarm or distress. If it is done repeatedly, then this will amount to harassment.”

    But even with the law on your side, establishing social responsibility among individuals is perhaps not as easy as it sounds:

    “Issues of cyber trolling, just shows how Twitter and Facebook respond – yes they take things down when pointed out to them and even that can be a slow and challenging process. When you are faced with porn websites and sites set up specifically for revenge porn – social responsibility will not really be a concept they will be very concerned about.

    Social Media is a place where photos and videos go viral quickly“The difficulty will come with looking at the scope of this offence. It may not be the ex-partner that is behind the posting – but a friend or relative who has come across the image on a laptop or phone. Will the offence extend to them?

    “There needs to be some consideration as to how the image will be removed from the site(s) – as once it is up, the damage is done and will continue to be done the longer it is accessible on-line. Websites will need to be directed to remove such images and to be honest, jurisdictional issues will make this near impossible,” Rupinder tells us.

    Right now, there are some actions that people can take if they do fall victim to revenge porn. These include contacting the police, or a specialised solicitor:

    “We can write cease and desist letters demanding that the image be taken down and if needs be, obtain an injunction through the civil courts to compel removal,” Rupinder says.

    While not totally common in the UK at present, it is clear that revenge porn is a growing issue and must be addressed sooner than later.

    It’s growth will hit the British Asian community like any other, as more and more people experiment with intimate photos and videos within relationships, and especially people taking and posting selfies without realising where they may end-up on the Internet.

    Nazhat is a woman on a mission to reveal many different aspects of 'Desiness.' With interests in fashion, cooking and keeping fit, she describes herself as a bright and chic 'Desi' lady who lives by the motto 'survival of the fittest...'

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