Revenge porn occurs when someone posts sexually explicit images of their former paramour on the web, often with contact information for the victim’s work and home. There are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of victims. Victims lose or quit their jobs; they are harassed by strangers; some change their name or alter their appearance. Some victims resort to suicide; others are stalked, assaulted, or killed. Civil suits fail to remove the images or deter perpetrators. Current criminal laws are insufficient in several common instances. These shortcomings mean there is a need to criminalize revenge porn.
Revenge porn is obscene and falls under a categorical exception to free speech. Even if revenge porn were not deemed obscene, a sufficiently clear law would avoid running afoul of the First Amendment. This article provides a model statute and a checklist to avoid Constitutional concerns. The government has a compelling interest in protecting privacy and in protecting individuals from harm. The time is ripe to protect privacy, particularly the right to keep personal sexual behavior private when the sole purpose of disseminating images and information regarding a person’s sexual behavior is to harass or humiliate.
Adrienne N. Kitchen,
The Need to Criminalize Revenge Porn: How a Law Protecting Victims Can Avoid Running Afoul of the First Amendment,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol90/iss1/11