Berman Introduces Legislation to Protect Victims of Revenge Porn

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Last week Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) introduced AB 1380, which will strengthen California’s laws against revenge porn. The bill closes a loophole in current law used by perpetrators to evade punishment for distributing private sexual images of another person, either photos or video, without their consent.

“Secretly taking pornographic photos or video of someone doesn’t make you cool. It makes you a coward. And when you get caught, you’ll get convicted,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “Too often perpetrators of revenge porn leverage legal loopholes to get away with this heinous crime, leaving victims traumatized, humiliated, and without justice. AB 1380 will ensure that if you record and distribute another person’s sexually explicit images without their consent there will be legal consequences.”

“Revenge porn is not sexy. It’s not acceptable. It’s not legal. It’s a felony. If you secretly record sexual images of someone else and post them online one of your hits may be law enforcement. And we will prosecute you,” said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.

“The California District Attorneys Association thanks Assembly Member Berman for standing up for victims of revenge porn. It’s unacceptable to take private photos of someone without their consent or permission and anyone who does will face the consequences,” said Tulare County District Attorney and California District Attorney’s Association President Tim Ward.

Existing law does not prevent someone from secretly recording an explicit video or taking an explicit picture for the purpose of revenge, which can often be the motivation behind revenge porn. It also does not cover circumstances where a person distributes stolen videos or images. AB 1380 makes it clear that these actions are illegal.

Revenge porn is an increasingly common crime intended to shame and intimidate its victims. Victims often suffer additional harm such as threats of physical violence, stalking, and criminal threats.[1] A study by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative found that 93% of victims suffered significant emotional distress because of their victimization, 51% had suicidal thoughts, and 49% stated they had been stalked or harassed online by users who saw their explicit images.[2]

 

Contact: Bermanpress@asm.ca.gov

 

[1] Danielle Keats Citron, Hate Crimes in Cyberspace (Harvard University Press 2014)

[2] Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, End Revenge Porn Survey (2014).