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Her nude photos leaked online. Now she’s fighting back

fighting back

What is revenge porn? It’s “non-consensual pornography that is distributed online to shame, exploit or extort its victims.” Basically, it’s sharing other’s nude photos online for your own selfish reasons. It’s an epidemic that ruins lives; however, it is often overlooked by the general populous as well as the government. But that’s all about to change.

Leah Juliett, A student, is campaigning to end revenge porn after she fell victim to the cruel practice – which is illegal in some states – when she was just 14 years old.

Leah Juliett, now 20, was devastated when a boy she was communicating with shared naked pictures of her with their entire school and online.

The traumatic experience left the New York-based poet, actor and activist feeling alone, vulnerable and too scared to report it.

She sent 4 revealing photos to a male classmate who was unsatisfied with the photos as he wanted ones that “clearly showed her genitals.” Juliett declined to send more photos. As a form of revenge, her classmate uploaded the photos online without informing her.

She found out a couple months later when her lab partner pulled out his phone and showed her her nude photos; the same ones she sent to her male classmate months before. Her lab partner then proceeded to tell her that “every guy on the football team had them,” Juliett recalled in an interview with CNN.

“He told me that he was going to ruin my life and he proceeded to send my pictures around, although at the time I didn’t know. I didn’t find out until people started telling me they had seen the photos.”

The pictures also appeared on a website which kept being re-posted in different online locations.

Juliett was so frightened of the potential consequences of the images that she started to extricate herself from extra-curricular activities.

Juliett created a March Against Revenge Porn that was held in N.Y.C on April 1. The March’s goal was to “create a community for victims and allies, develop a platform for the voice of revenge porn victims, fight to criminalize revenge pornography at a national level, and educate young people about their cyber civil rights.”

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Comments (2)

Referring again at the end of this article to the existence of civil remedies, having earlier acknowledged that ‘Civil actions can be long and costly’ ignores the reality of civil law in our modern society. Only the wealthy can afford it yet this kind of ‘revenge porn’ most often affects people with little or no wealth. Harmful actions by one against another are precisely the proper interest of the criminal law – after all, I could always sue my burglar.

As for existing offences already covering the situation, clearly not adequately otherwise we would be seeing prosecutions. It is precisely the initial consensual nature of the making of the image which prosecutors would see as the stumbling block to prosecution today. Those of us who remember the creation of the then new offence of TWOC in 1967 will know how what seems like obvious criminal behaviour can result in acquittal.

I agree that the law has to change to suit changes in the way that society functions, but there is a trend towards tinkering with the criminal law to suit the public perception. Politicians see votes, rather than reform, as the driving force.
Bearing in mind how well we have been served by the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and the great property law reforms of 1925, we would be better served with major legislation carefully constructed.

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