Cyber Civil Rights Project Helps Victims of Revenge Porn

October 27, 2015 | Blog, Divorce

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

If a nude or explicit picture or video of you has been shared publicly by your ex-spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, without your consent, there may be legal help available.

Revenge porn is defined as a form of sexual abuse that involves the distribution of nude or sexually explicit photos or videos of an individual without their consent.  Typically, when spouses or intimate partners break up, one of them distributes explicit photos or videos that were shared privately, with the expectation of keeping them confidential.  In an age of Instagram and Snapchat, revenge porn has become a common phenomenon, so much so that Pennsylvania has enacted criminal and civil liability laws to address the problem.

Title 18 of Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, Section 3131, creates a second degree misdemeanor for unlawful dissemination of an intimate image with intent to harass, annoy or alarm a current or former intimate partner.  Consent is a defense to this crime.  The law was enacted in the fall of 2014, and within the first six months, eleven individuals were criminally prosecuted for distributing nude selfies of their exes, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Additionally, some victims may seek monetary damages, particularly if revenge porn has caused the loss of employment, damage to one’s business reputation, or other harms.  When revenge porn occurs during a marital separation or divorce, the financial consequences may be addressed in combination with other family law issues.

A prominent Pittsburgh-based law firm has sponsored a Cyber Civil Rights Project to assist victims of revenge porn who qualify for pro bono representation.   Separated and divorced spouses who are threatened with revenge porn may also call Pollock Begg for legal help and referrals.

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