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British newspaper wants revenge porn to be considered a sex crime

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It’d be a long-overdue update to the law.

A major British newspaper is calling for “revenge porn” to be reclassified as a sex crime.

The Sun, a tabloid with the second-largest circulation of any British paper, launched a campaign on Oct. 1 demanding that revenge porn—the sharing of intimate photos or videos of ex-partners without their consent—should be considered a new kind of sex crime.

The issue is a rising phenomenon, The Sun reports, with 149 cases in the last 3 years—of which just 6 resulted in any police caution or charge. Frequently, the act is considered under law to be harassment or “malicious communications,” which carry lesser penalties under law than a sexual offence charge. 

The Independent, another British newspaper, reports that children as young as 11 are being affected.

In America too, revenge porn is a growing issue: popstar Iggy Azalea is currently embroiled in a dispute with her ex-boyfriend, who is planning to sell a sex tape they made as a couple for a seven-figure sum without her consent. The singer has made her thoughts perfectly clear on Twitter:

Between 2012 and 2014, there was a 65 percent increase in incidents of revenge porn reporting to the police in the U.K., and to combat this the Sun is arguing that those who share sex tapes and photos without their partner’s consent should be charged with a “specific sex crime,” and should face “sentences of up to three years.”

One defence victims of revenge porn have under existing law is copyright: In a large number of cases, the photos and videos are taken by the victims themselves, meaning they technically own the rights. While not technically a revenge porn case, actress Jennifer Lawrence has used a similar argument to have intimate photos of her taken down from websites after they were shared online in the recent Celebgate leak.

“Tougher new laws would allow for harsher sentencing and help put a stop to the humiliating practice,” The Sun argues, saying that Israel and California are among those with laws against revenge porn already in place.

Photo via Karin4758 / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0) | Remix by Rob Price

Rob Price

Rob Price

Rob Price is a technology and politics reporter who served as the U.K.-based morning editor for the Daily Dot until 2014. He now works as the news editor for Business Insider, and his work has appeared in Vice, Slate, the Washington Post, and the Independent.