Senators From Both Sides Of The Aisle Say 'ENOUGH' To Revenge Porn

“Perpetrators of exploitation who seek to humiliate and shame their victims must be held accountable.”

Legislators Democratic and Republican alike have had "ENOUGH" with the revenge porn problem. Now they're taking action.

Yesterday, November 28, Sens. Kamala D. Harris, Richard Burr, and Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier introduced the Ending Nonconsensual Online User Graphic Harassment Act — the ENOUGH Act, for short — to make this type of bullying illegal nationwide.

As it stands now, 13 percent of Internet users have been threatened by or targeted with the release of nonconsensual photos, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative reports. Many states have revenge porn regulations of varying strictness; others have none at all.

With this new bipartisan bill, however, it would be illegal everywhere in the country to "knowingly distribute a private, visual depiction of an individual's intimate parts or of an individual engaging in sexually explicit conduct" without consent.



"For victims of nonconsensual pornography, technology today makes it possible to destroy a person's life with the click of a button or a tap on a cell phone," Speier said in a press release. "The damage caused by these attacks can crush careers, tear apart families, and, in the worst cases, has led to suicide."

"What makes these acts even more despicable is that many predators have gleefully acknowledged that the vast majority of their victims have no way to fight back," she continued. "Even in states that have laws on the books, the average person can't afford to take on these predators in civil courts. Worse are the numerous victims who have mustered the courage and strength to pursue criminal charges, only to learn there is no law that protects them."

"Perpetrators of exploitation who seek to humiliate and shame their victims must be held accountable," Harris said in her own press release, according to Mashable.

That said, the proposed legislation puts a lot of the onus on the subject of the photos — who would, for example, have to prove the sharer knew the image was meant to be private and would cause harm if publicly released.

Plus, as University of California Berkeley School of Law professor Erwin Chemerinsky has pointed out, people post explicit photos of others for other reasons, too.

"I don't think it should just be about intent to cause harm to the victim," Chemerinsky said at a recent symposium, per Gizmodo. "Imagine that the person is putting the material online for profit or personal gain. That should be just as objectionable as to cause harm to the victim."

Still, Facebook, Twitter, and Snap Inc. have all supported the bill, as Senator Harris announced on her website. Time will tell if Congress supports it, too.

Cover image via Shutterstock / Dragon Images.

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