“Revenge porn is insidious, toxic and can pierce to the core,” says Chrissy Chambers, who won her lawsuit. Picture: Twitter@ChrissyChambers
“Revenge porn is insidious, toxic and can pierce to the core,” says Chrissy Chambers, who won her lawsuit. Picture: Twitter@ChrissyChambers

Landmark revenge porn payout

CHRISSY Chambers had no clue her boyfriend was secretly filming their sexual encounters.

The internet knew about it long before she did.

Hundreds of thousands of strangers were watching her sexual encounters after he posted videos of them having sex to a porn website.

They knew who she was, because her full name was on some of those videos secretly uploaded by her spurned lover.

But the American YouTube star now has justice, after her revenge porn court case saw her awarded "substantial" damages in a landmark settlement which should serve as a grim warning to others.

Chambers brought the civil case against her British ex-boyfriend, who for legal reasons can only be identified as DCR, after being told criminal charges couldn't be lodged against him.

FILMED IN SECRET

What is thought to be Britain's first civil law suit over revenge porn began after Chambers' nine-month romance with the man from 2008 to 2009, the Irish Times reports.

Chrissy was just 18, and had no idea he was filming their sexual activities at her home in Atlanta, Georgia.

He shot seven of them, without her knowledge or consent, in September 2009.

Two years after they broke up, he uploaded six of them to porn website Redtube.com - three of them with her full name in the title and two revealing her age when they'd been filmed.

It would be two years before Chambers even knew about his seedy move.

By then, she had come out as gay, and was becoming one of the most popular lesbian content creators on US YouTube, with a channel which now boasts more than 750,000 subscribers and is aimed mostly at teenage girls.

Chrissy Chambers drops to one knee to propose to Bria Kam in the wake of her revenge porn lawsuit win. Picture: Twitter/@ChrissyChambers
Chrissy Chambers drops to one knee to propose to Bria Kam in the wake of her revenge porn lawsuit win. Picture: Twitter/@ChrissyChambers

She operates the channel with her partner, Bria Kam, who she proposed to on the steps of the courthouse after her legal victory this week.

She tweeted: "I could not be more elated to announce that I won my revenge porn case and also asked the most incredible girl to marry me. That's right - WE WON AND BRIA AND I ARE ENGAGED!!!!! I'm the luckiest girl in the world!!!!!"

The pair's shared Twitter account handle now describes them as "winners of UK's first civil Revenge Porn lawsuit".

"INSIDIOUS, TOXIC"

But it's been a four-year battle against the scourge of revenge porn which she said is "insidious, toxic and can pierce to the core".

And it almost broke her.

By the time Chambers learned of the existence of the illicit films in June, 2013 and contacted the website to have them removed, the porn videos had been online for 19 months.

They'd been shared on more than 35 other porn sites, viewed hundreds of thousands of times. She was getting messages from YouTube subscribers who thought she'd been intentionally involved in them, and no longer wanted to view her YouTube channel.

In 2015, the United Kingdom had introduced a specific criminal offence of "revenge porn" under which spurned lovers who posted pornographic films or images on websites faced up to two years in jail.

But that couldn't help Chambers: the videos of her had been uploaded in 2011, so criminal law did not apply.

Instead, she brought the civil case in the UK, suing her ex for harassment, breach of confidence and misuse of private information.

He admitted uploading the films, settling out of court as 2017 drew to a close.

Her victory became public this week when a statement of the settlement was read in open court.

Outside court she said the legal precedent was a severe warning to people who use revenge porn to extort and harm won't get away with it.

"Today is the culmination of a long and painful journey for me, a journey that taught me the value of trust and how readily that trust can be abused and lost," Chambers said in a statement. "When intimate relationships begin, the very notion of your partner ever wanting to hurt you is the farthest thing from your mind.

"The idea that you could be abused, in person, or online, is just not something you consider.

"When it happened to me it changed my life in ways that I could never have imagine.

"Revenge porn is insidious, toxic and can pierce to the core.

"To have your most private, intimate acts put on broad display is not only demanding and humiliating, but in my case, led to panic, depression, PTSD and alcoholism.

"This experience nearly ruined me. It has cost me my mental and physical wellbeing. I want to use my experience to help people who may be suffering the way I did, that is the only thing that will make this worthwhile."

As well as damages, Miss Chambers has won copyright of the videos, which means she can legally pursue any websites that host them.

Chrissy’s YouTube channel, aimed mostly at teen girls, has more than 750,000 subscribers. Picture: Twitter/@ChrissyChambers
Chrissy’s YouTube channel, aimed mostly at teen girls, has more than 750,000 subscribers. Picture: Twitter/@ChrissyChambers

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