OPINION: Revenge porn must end now

FIVE months ago, the Chronicle received a phone call from a woman whose friend became a victim of revenge porn.

Her image had been plastered on a forum known for sharing explicit images without the person's consent and she was understandably distraught.

Even more disturbing, school-aged girls were falling victim as well.

Little did I know that phone call would turn into a five-month investigation to track down who runs this site, how often it is visited and just how broadly unsuspecting women are being targeted.

What I found out was heart-breaking and utterly terrifying to say the least.

I cannot even begin to image what it must feel like for the victims who discovered their intimate images were used maliciously.

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As the digital world continues to develop, so does the level of permanency and the reminder that the internet never forgets.

These women, both adults and children, are having their phones hacked and their intimate images published online without their knowledge.

Women who may have shared an image to their partner, trusting it to stay for their eyes only.

In some cases, it is ex-partners posting images out of spite, hence the now widely- used term "revenge porn".

As USC expert Nadine MacKillop stated, our biggest chance of combating the problem is not punishing those who have already committed the act.

It's helping people to understand why they should never send the photo in the first place.

Read the investigation here. 


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