With the growth of social media and easy availability of internet a new form of cybercrime that has really grown up in last few years is revenge porn. Revenge porn is the non-consensual sharing of someone’s intimate and private pics on a social platform either with a purpose to extort money or to gain sexual favors.

These acts are sometimes fuelled by rage after a breakup and used as a way to get back the partner in life by blackmailing them. Economic times quotes a real-life case of revenge porn,”Shikha’s(Name changed) feet tremble as she walks out of the door of her house, each and every day. She fears to get out of her house, being recognized. For the past 1 year, the 21-year-old has opted for home educational courses and has chosen content writing for a living.

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Shikha’s confinement to her home began in July last year when her ex-boyfriend, whom she had been dating for two years, uploaded graphic videos, pictures of her on adult websites after they broke up. Her nightmare had just begun. Using these videos as blackmail, he sexually assaulted her several times over the next 6 months.

A 2016 survey conducted by Cyber & Law Foundation, an NGO in India points out that 27% of internet users aged 13 to 45 has been subjected to such situations. Due to the fear of stigma attached to this and lack of any concrete law which deals with revenge porn, people often end up not reporting these crimes

Here is an account of a revenge porn victim. Kira an actress said she felt she was to blame when her ex-boyfriend shared topless photos of her on social media and in a group chat

She told UNILAD:

“At that point, I felt like a child, I just thought my mum would be so disappointed. I wasn’t a woman at all, I felt like a little girl really, it just made me feel really sick. He tweeted a picture of me I’d sent to my ex. There was a group chat of all boys from Manchester so he was sharing it with lots of people. It makes you feel violated.”

She further said
When you’re with somebody, you trust them. So you think ‘oh they’re never going to show anyone’ because they make you feel so comfortable at the time and they convince you it’s such a good idea at the time and you think ‘oh yeah ok’.”

Speaking about the stigma and guilt attached to it she says
“It made me feel like I was dirty and just the fact everyone has seen me just made me feel really violated and it knocked my confidence so much.I didn’t go out for ages, I just thought everybody knew because everybody did know and I didn’t report it to anybody.I didn’t report it to the police because I thought I was in the wrong, I took the picture”

You can watch the interview here

Precautions that you can take :
1) While we understand in the heat of the moment it is possible that you place your trust in the partner and share the images and videos with him/her. But, please make sure nothing above the neck is visible. Also, take care of any other surroundings which may confirm your identity later on.

2) Try to avoid exchanging pics and videos as much as possible, no matter how much you trust someone. You never know someday even in the heat of the moment the partner does something wrong it will ruin things for both of you.

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Counter actions that you can take : The police have to usually fall back upon the Information Technology Act 2000 to file FIRs in these cases.Also, there is no such provision in India which makes it compulsory for a woman representative to handle the pictures which are provided by the victims to the police. So, in many cases to avoid the pictures being misused by the male police officers people avoid visiting the police stations.

One good thing in cases of revenge porn is the victim doesn’t have to be present at the police station to lodge a complaint. Someone else can do it on his/her behalf,“cyber law expert Pavan Duggal told HuffPost India.

“Police usually book people under sections 67 and 67A of the IT Act in these cases,”cyber law expert Pavan Duggal told HuffPost India. The first can land a person in jail for up to five years and/or fine the offender up to ₹ 1 lakh. For the second, the jail term is seven years and the penalty is the same.

Not reporting such cases is the worst thing one can do. It’s your fight, report to cyber branch or police stations and fights against it. Lawyers and activists are fighting to make further amendments to the laws and make it more easy to take down the videos.

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