Hoylman forum highlights lack of protection against ‘revenge porn’

State Senator Brad Hoylman (Photo courtesy of Senator Hoylman)

State Senator Brad Hoylman (Photo courtesy of Senator Hoylman)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

State Senator Brad Hoylman hosted a forum to promote awareness on intimate partner violence and nonconsensual pornography, commonly known as “revenge porn,” at the LGBT Center last Friday. The event was co-hosted by the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence and co-sponsored by Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James.

Hoylman and other advocates at the event drew attention to the fact that there is no specific legislation in New York State that criminalizes the distribution of nonconsensual pornography.

“The truth is that the internet is not a safe place, particularly for women, people of color and LGBT individuals,” he said. “We can’t ask people to just forget about things because these are impacts that reverberate for the rest of your life. The fact that New York State has no law is truly shameful. No one should have to deal with this. It’s time for lawmakers to counter the growing threats.”

Holly Jacobs, the founder of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) and a victim of nonconsensual pornography, said that the term “revenge porn” is actually a misnomer because the phrase implies that there is always a personal relationship, but not all of the videos and photos distributed are motivated by revenge.

“Some are motivated by money, others by internet notoriety because the material becomes currency among young males,” she said, citing an incident reported on by the New York Times last November in which high school students in Colorado traded and collected hundreds of naked photos of other students in a so-called sexting ring.

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