Written By: Will Lewis
A new trend known as “revenge porn”is plaguing campuses across the world, but is also finding a specific home in the southeastern United States.
A recent poll issued by the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality surveyed college freshmen at an unspecified southeastern university.
The survey revealed that of 1,652 undergraduates who were polled, approximately 70 percent had both sent and received sexually suggestive text messages. The study went on to reveal that 31 percent of respondents shared these texts with a third party.
The sharing of sexually explicit messages has sparked a global controversy and sponsored new legislation in Israel, Germany and various states within the United States.
In March the Georgia House and Senate passed HB 838 which makes the distribution of explicit content without the consent of the subject illegal.
The bill, which was sponsored by Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, makes the distribution of revenge porn a high level misdemeanor and a felony after the first offense.
The trend has sprung to the forefront of public opinion following the infamy of revenge porn sites such as Hunter Moore’s IsAnyoneUp.com. Moore’s site encouraged the unsanctioned posting of nude photos and videos of men and women along with their contact info, names, addresses and much more.
The harassment can have severe consequences for the subjects of the photographs, something that Holly Jacobs found out soon after her image was posted by a disgruntled ex-boyfriend.
“I paid $500 to legally change my name. MY NAME,”Jacobs wrote in a blog post last year.
“This was agonizing. I was quite fond of my name. Sure, it was never a name fit for a celebrity or anything; it was way too long. But not many people out there can say that they have a kick-ass, uniquely spelled first name, and an exotic Hawaiian middle name that means “Beautiful Flower.””
Of course, the consequences are more severe for many more victims, with high suicide rates among those affected.
“If we’re to tackle the problem, we need to stop viewing the internet as “virtual”reality,”Lily Kendall wrote in a blog post about the epidemic. “We need to recognize that the internet is a real, tangible location for rights violations. For victims of revenge porn, there is nothing “virtual”about their experience. There is nothing “virtual”about moving house, changing your name, being stalked, or committing suicide.”