A message from our founder, Dr. Holly Jacobs.

Black Fleece from the Left

My name is Holly Jacobs.  Back in 2009 my ex-boyfriend did the unthinkable after I broke up with him.

He started posting explicit pictures and a video of me all over the Internet along with my full name, email address, job title, and specific details of where I worked and how far along I was in my PhD program.  For 3 years damage control was a full-time job. I hired a lawyer to send him a letter. I begged and pleaded with 3 different police stations to file charges against him. I went to the FBI, and I hired an Internet specialist to help me take down the material.  Ultimately, those avenues were dead ends and I needed a new approach.

So I started a website.

Through EndRevengePorn.org I’m not only gathering signatures to petition to criminalize this sort of behavior (coined ‘revenge porn’), but I’m using it as a platform to help other victims and lead what some are calling a ‘cyber civil rights’ movement.

But starting a website wasn’t enough.  I was operating the site as ‘Sarah’, a pseudonymous character.  Though I was starting to get signatures from other victims, their friends, and their family members, the bulk of society was still continuing to blame the victims and call my campaign and website a “waste of time and energy”. They just weren’t getting it; they weren’t seeing how devastating something like this could be to every aspect of your life.  More importantly, they weren’t seeing the posters as the malicious, sexual predators that they truly are.

At this point I was living three separate lives.  In one life, I was Holl(i/y), an Industrial/Organizational Psychology PhD student who was too afraid to spell her first name or give out her new last name for fear of having to explain why she was forced to change it. In another, I was Holly Jacobs, a revenge porn victim on the run from her poster, desperately fighting to get her case picked up by lawyers and police. Finally, I was ‘Sarah’, the pseudonymous figure behind End Revenge Porn, trying to change the laws and help other victims.  It was time to start merging the three identities into one. Keeping up with who I was to whom was too much to juggle on top of everything else.

After continuing to be shamed, silenced, stripped of monetary funds, and turned away, I realized that the ultimate solution to all of my problems was to do the opposite of what my ex expected me to do: expose my situation. It was risky, terrifying, and I had several people closest to me who were very vocal about their lack of support for this course of action.  Despite all of these deterrents, I couldn’t imagine hiding for the rest of my life when the real one that should be shamed into captivity is the person who tried to destroy my life with the click of a mouse. Additionally, I had seen how accepting the public was of trail-blazing revenge porn victims like Hollie Toups and Marianna Taschinger.  To this day, going public about my experience has been the best decision of my life.

Speaking up has not only helped other revenge porn victims realize that they are not alone, but it has helped me heal in so many ways.  Telling my story over and over again has given me the chance to really process and come to terms with it.  Tears no longer flood my eyes when I tell perfect strangers that some of my most intimate moments are up on the Internet for the entire world to see.  My teeth no longer chatter when I tell family and friends that my name is now Holly Jacobs, because I was cyber stalked and harassed to such a degree that felt I had no other choice but to legally change my name. I no longer have three different identities; afraid that each time I play one character, people will find out about the other.  Today, I am finally one person: Holly Jacobs, the survivor, the activist, the advocate, and the founder and executive director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, whose first campaign is to end revenge porn and aid the victims of it.

  • Good for you, Holly.

    And good best success with this site — and especially with CCRI (http://www.cybercivilrights.org/).

    Cyber Civil Rights is an idea whose time came some time ago, and it’s time the world got up to speed on that.

    Be well!


  • Mandy

    You are an inspiration, Holly. I applaud your courage and I support your mission 100%. Thank you for the good work you are doing. Wishing all good things your way.

  • Morten

    Today some of the story was posted on the Danish Jyllands Posten at http://jyllands-posten.dk/international/usa/ECE6051810/haevnporno-forbydes-i-californien/

    Good Work, Morten, Denmark.

  • Mimi

    I agree. Why hide.
    You should post your ex’s full name age and location and the details of what he did to you.
    You did nothing wrong. You put your faith and trust into a man you were in love with.
    Your ex needs to feel shame for what he did.

  • Sarah

    Dear Holly,

    I just want to say how brave you are for speaking up. The people who commit these crimes are the lowest of the low and should absolutely be called to account for their cowardly behaviour. Well done.

    Sending you much admiration and support from Australia,

  • Neil

    There is a thing called respect and behaviour, in those non internet days you couldn’t take snap shots from digital or kodak camera and have photo developed unless you were in the porn business, you ask for it you get it !extract from smh.com.au One way to stop revenge porn would be not to have intimate photos taken. But Jacobs says: ”If we did that, we’d never really let our guard down in a relationship – and what kind of life are you living if you can’t do that?

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/revenge-porn-caught-in-a-web-of-spite-20131006-2v21q.html#ixzz2gzqAtE8W

  • Thea

    Holly, thank you so much for championing the movement to end RP. When I was first a victim, this website was one of the only resources I had to know I was not alone. In the time since that has happened and you have revealed your identity, I have been so thankful for the awareness of the general population and the challenges to the opinion that the women violated somehow deserve it. You are an inspiration for every person who has gone through the terrible experience.

  • Joseph Shearin

    Well done Holly, impressive.

  • cand

    I became a recent victim of this horrible trend. I have email my senators representatives attorney general. I am taking my experience to the local news I’ve signed this petition and I will give this website mention in my interview to get the ball rolling in NW Ohio

  • Joel Lederer

    I was so happy to read what Holly has done and is continuing to do. It’s really a sad commentary on our society that this young woman’s life has to be so overwhelmed in
    accomplishing something which is a fundamental responsibility of our gov’t (local,state and federal).And why must it be the duty of a VICTIM to remedy a situation that has been created and continually enabled by many big social media companies that are reaping tremendous financial profits, but not accepting any moral and/or legal responsibility. Congratulations and know that all your efforts will be protecting many
    potential victims in the future.

  • I do like the manner in which you have framed this specific problem and it does offer me personally a lot of fodder for thought. On the other hand, because of what precisely I have seen, I basically wish when the actual responses pack on that people today remain on point and don’t start on a soap box associated with the news du jour. All the same, thank you for this outstanding point and although I can not necessarily agree with it in totality, I regard your point of view.

  • I am really loving the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A handful of my blog audience have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this problem?

  • Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say excellent blog!