‘Revenge Porn’ Legislation Passes

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On Feb. 25, Nassau County Legislators passed bipartisan legislation to protect victims from vengeful acts of bullying, harassment and/or coercion in the form of “revenge porn.” Acts of revenge porn are defined typically as the posting or sharing of intimate images over the Internet, through social media channels or other electronic means. It is a violation of the law for someone who has been given the image by the victim to disclose or threaten to disclose the image with the “intent to cause material harm to the physical, mental, emotional or financial welfare” of the victim.

“I am very happy to be a part of this proactive legislation which is sorely needed in the world of social media,” Legislator Laura Schaefer said. “Too many lives have been disrupted, upset and forever scarred as a result of one person’s malicious distribution of intimate photos that never should have been shared.”

The legislation would classify these vengeful acts as a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 or up to a year in jail.

Malicious distribution of nude or graphic images has serious ramifications for victims, emotional distress, isolation, cyberbullying as a result of displayed revenge porn, and even suicide. Additionally, many victims are resistant to come forward out of embarrassment and fear. It is estimated that women are twice as likely to be victimized by revenge porn than men, and the displaying of intimate images is a tool employed by domestic abusers to control their victims.

“Victimizing women in ANY way should not be tolerated and this legislation takes a big step in the right direction,” added Schaefer.

—Submitted by Nassau County

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