Justice

Mischa Barton's Sex Tape Victory is a Huge Step Forward For Victims of Revenge Porn

Actress Mischa Barton just scored a high profile victory in the ongoing battle against revenge porn.

 

A post shared by Mischa Barton (@mischamazing) on

Barton has been fighting a legal battle with an ex-boyfriend who threatened to sell nude photos and footage of her taken in 2016.

During a press conference, held in March, Barton spoke out about the fight to keep her private images private. "This is a painful situation, and my absolute worst fear was realized when I learned that someone I thought I loved and trusted was filming my most intimate and private moments without my consent, with hidden cameras," she said, according to HuffPost.

"I came forward to fight this not only for myself, but for all the women out there. I want to protect them from the pain and humiliation that I have had to go through," she added.

No woman should have to go through this. — Mischa Barton

The court battle finally came to an end Monday with a victory for Barton. Her lawyer, Lisa Bloom, posted this Twitter update.

"COURT VICTORY today with Mischa Barton," Bloom tweets. "Distribution of the explicit images banned, ex stays 100 yards away forever."

Bloom added the following statement, according to HuffPost:

"[Mischa] did this not just for herself, but for all women and girls. Mischa wants everyone to know that we have the right to control our own bodies and decide whether or not to have explicit photos out there for the world to see. If a woman wants to do that, fine. If she doesn’t, fine. The choice is hers and hers alone."

There are laws against "nonconsensual pornography" in 38 states.

According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting online abuse reports, there are currently 38 states plus D.C. that have laws against revenge porn — though, as they point out, the term "revenge porn" is not always just, and can be "misleading." They explain:

"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."

Civil Rights attorney Adam Massey pointed out the recent case of model Dani Mathers sharing a nude photo of a woman in a gym shower without her permission is an example of NCP.

NCP isn't limited solely to celebrities, though a massive leak of private celebrity photos largely dominated the "revenge porn" conversation in 2014. Women who live outside the public eye are targets far too often, as well. Business Insider reported on a study conducted by the Data & Society Research Institute in 2016 that found "one in ten young women have been threatened with the possibility of public posting of explicit images."

Though the laws against NCP are gradually becoming clear, the exact penalties and definitions can vary slightly from state to state, and there's still 12 states without any laws against NCP.

Still, organizations like CCRI and lawmakers like Jackie Speier (D-CA), who worked with CCRI to draft the Intimate Privacy Protection Act (IPPA), are making big strides. If you'd like to help, CCRI advises contacting your state representative to make the push for federal legislation against non-consensual porn.