The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
Instagram

Revenge porn concerns student

Revenge porn is a growing online problem. Hundreds of sites have been created as a platform for angry people to seek revenge on ex-partners or love interests. People are able to anonymously publish nude photographs of their exes in an effort to get even. Online anonymity allows for anyone to make a post about any individual. Many include personal information, identifying factors and links to social media platforms, creating a “profile” for online ridicule.

In late September, the New York Times published an article exploring the problem and how people are able to get away with these posts. The article explains that the people in these pictures are often not seen as victims because many of them took the photos and shared them with their partners. As soon as that information is known, these victims are no longer seen as such. However, in the article, a law professor, Mary Anne Franks, credits that reaction to a blame-the-victim attitude that is associated with many
rape cases.

The factor that makes this issue such a problem in the online world is that there is no national legislation preventing this type of activity. Suing the people responsible for the posts proves to be incredibly difficult, and confronting the actual websites can be additionally challenging. In many ways, the activity falls under “cyberharassment.” Cyberharassment is a relatively new term that is gaining some footing in the legal system. As of 2012, 40 U.S. states have statutes that address cyberharassment in some way, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Yet passing legislation that would protect victims of revenge porn has been stopped by people concerned with First Amendment challenges that could be made in any state.

Franks has become a recent contributor to the activist site End Revenge Porn by writing a legislative proposal that serves as an example of what restraints could be placed around revenge porn and also the legislature that would prevent it. While many are concerned with First Amendment limitations, the victims of revenge porn crimes need to be the first and foremost concern. The violation of their rights and privacy is a violation of all our rights and privacy. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you. All too often the Internet is used as a form of exploitation, and that must be stopped on all fronts at all costs.

Parrish is a sophomore majoring in journalism.

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