LoboRESPECT Cloud

An embittered ex-lover or spouse posts naked photos or steamy videos to the World Wide Web, without consent, images that were shared willingly and privately during happier times. This act of spite and betrayal is called “Revenge Porn,” and it subjects the target to shame, humiliation and, in some cases, ridicule. Posting anything to the Web without serious consideration of the consequences can result in devastating fallout.

Clinical psychologist and Director of Counseling Services at Student Health and Counseling (SHAC), Stephanie McIver said, “In the course of my whole career I have found that ‘endings’ is one thing we human beings do most poorly. Revenge Porn, when a product of an ending, is but the latest example of a dysfunctional and devastating human coping strategy such as homicide, infanticide, defamation and others. Revenge Porn, in another capacity, is a product of a personality disorder, in which the perpetrator preys upon, and takes pleasure in, the vulnerability, suffering and humiliation of others.”

Depending on content, uploaded photos and videos can spread at warp speed online as it crosses innumerable nodes and networks. Some information can travel around the world in minutes, allowing millions, even billions of people to see the same thing. Once an image goes viral, it’s problematic getting it off the Web. Copious amounts of correspondence or a lawsuit may be a victim’s only recourse in getting Web hosts or internet service providers to remove the content. But that may be changing.

Thirteen U.S. states have already enacted legislation to address revenge porn: Alaska, Ariz., Calif., Colo., Ga., Md., N.J., Idaho, N.Y., Pa., Utah, Va. and Wis.

Revenge porn subjects the target to shame, humiliation and, in some cases, ridicule.

Under New Jersey law, distributing sexually explicit photographs and films without a subject’s consent is a felony. The law, enacted in 2004, was used to prosecute a Rutgers student who secretly filmed and then posted a webcam video of his gay roommate engaging in sexual activity, leading the roommate to commit suicide.

In the last New Mexico legislative session, Rep. Brian Egolf sponsored House Resolution HB 238, which would have made it a crime to distribute photographs and videos of a sexual nature with the intent to humiliate or denigrate an individual, but the bill died waiting for a committee hearing in the House. Egolf said he would introduce the bill again in the next session in January.

“Coping with Endings,” a workshop that includes a talk on Revenge Porn, will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 19 from 3:30 - 5 p.m. at SHAC. The event is free but registration is required.        

For more information, email studentcounseling@unm.edu