The term “revenge porn,” though frequently used, is somewhat misleading. Many perpetrators are not motivated by revenge or by any personal feelings toward the victim. A more accurate term is nonconsensual pornography (NCP), defined as the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent. This includes both images originally obtained without consent (e.g. by using hidden cameras, hacking phones, or recording sexual assaults) as well as images consensually obtained within the context of an intimate relationship.
Do a search on your full name using Google and/or Bing to see if any offending material pops up. If this doesn’t produce any concerning results, do a reverse image search on Google with the photos that you are worried might be on the internet. Instructions on how to do this can be found here: Reverse Image Search .
Please see this victim resource flyer provided to us by the Computer Crime Investigative Unit in the U.S. Army. It contains instructions on how to report the crime in the Army as well as information on where you can go to for support.
If you are located within the United States, you can call our Crisis Helpline at 844-878-2274. Counselors trained in providing support, resources, and referrals to individuals going through circumstances similar to yours are available at no charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
An important step for victims of NCP is to capture screen shots of everything and save them to a folder on your computer – capture screen shots of the websites’ pages, results from a Google search of your name, and any texts, messages, friend requests or emails you received as a result of the posting. Then print everything. This will serve as your evidence. This link has instructions on capturing screen shots: http://www.take-a-screenshot.org/.
If you took the pictures, you own the copyright to them. To further protect yourself, you can take the extra step and register your images with the Register of Copyright Office: www.copyright.gov/eco
Copyright gives you the authority to demand sites remove your images based on copyright infringement (also known as a DMCA takedown).
See this resource which outlines how to report nude images posted without consent for removal to all of the major tech platforms: http://www.endrevengeporn.org/online-removal/.
If you were under 18 when the images were created, it is recommended that you speak with a trusted parent or other adult (such as a school counselor, teacher, or administrator) in order to help you think through next steps. Consider talking to a victim advocate or social worker in your town or city. Victim advocates can help you gather evidence, accompany you to the police or a lawyer’s office, figure out how to keep you safe, and help you get a protection order against the person targeting you. In the US, victim advocates can be found in police stations, rape crisis centers, domestic violence prevention centers, offices of state attorneys general, sheriff’s offices, and county offices.
Unfortunately, many law enforcement officials aren’t familiar with the laws, so look up the laws in the state(s) where you and the person who posted the images (if known) live before contacting the police. Visit this website to see if sharing intimate images without consent is a crime in your state: http://www.cagoldberglaw.com/states-with-revenge-porn-laws/. Click on the ‘+’ sign next to a state and it will show that state’s status of legislation and provide a link to the statute.
If sharing intimate photos without consent isn’t a crime in your state, try using existing crimes that posters sometimes commit while disseminating the material (e.g., online harassment and stalking laws). For a list of related laws, go here: http://www.endrevengeporn.org/related-laws/. Then visit this site to help you find the specific language for criminal laws in your state: http://statelaws.findlaw.com//.Bring a printout of the statutes (i.e., laws) applicable to your situation with you so you can explain the situation clearly.
The law firm of K&L Gates now offers pro bono legal services to victims of revenge porn through their Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project. Go to http://www.cyberrightsproject.com/ for more information and to fill out a contact form.
If they are not able to take your case, visit this link for a list of other pro or low bono attorneys who have offered to help victims such as yourself: http://www.endrevengeporn.org/professionals-helping-victims/.
If you just want the images/videos gone, you can hire a takedown service to have the images removed. There are many DMCA takedown services that you can reach through a search online. You can also reach out to Copybyte (https://copybyte.com/stop-revenge-pornography/) for takedown assistance.
IMPORTANT: If the images are removed before legal professionals are able to collect cyber-forensic data, crucial evidence could be destroyed. Make sure you’ve documented the material before you request that it be removed from the internet.
If you want to submit your own DMCA takedown notices, this website has comprehensive instructions:
You may need to find contact information for the site owner. You can do this by searching the domain name on DomainTools.com. Remember, you want to contact the site owner and the host, not the “registrar” shown on the whois info listed.
Check out HeartMob, an online support site for individuals experiencing online harassment. There, you can report the harassment you’re experiencing and receive real-time support from others who understand what you’re going through.