Revenge porn has taken the Internet by storm. This disgusting trend is a way to threaten, intimidate and punish exes by posting explicit photos and videos that were meant for only one set of eyes. It is no surprise that content on the World Wide Web, once it is posted, is almost impossible to get rid of. It is also no surprise that, according to a video shared on Broadly, 90 percent of the victims of revenge porn are women. In today’s society, technology is integral to the way we form relationships with others, but to some people, it is also integral to the way we break each other down.

Legislation is happening in Australia and in some states however more universal legislation is needed. PHOTO VIA FLICKR USER ELIZABETH ASHLEY JERMAN

Legislation is happening in Australia and in some states however more universal legislation is needed. PHOTO VIA FLICKR USER ELIZABETH ASHLEY JERMAN.

On Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, women and occasionally men have reported seeing their private videos and photos exposed, and due to the videos’ explicit content, they are more likely to be shared and commented upon. These comments are often threatening and domineering, suggesting further assault and even violent rape. Worse still, there are sites specifically dedicated to posting private photos of exes.

In the video, Anisha Vora, a revenge porn victim, remembers one specifically unsettling comment on her leaked photos: “I say we gang bang all her holes and give her what she needs.”

Anisha’s ex-boyfriend, like many revenge porn perpetrators, did not stop at just posting her photos online. He made Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts impersonating Anisha and giving out further personal information like her home address and promising sex to anyone who came by. Anisha had to move.

According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, the majority of women who are victimized are heterosexual. This means that most of the leaked content on these revenge porn websites are published by men — men who many women thought they could trust, men who probably sent as many pornographic photos to their girlfriends (now exes) as their girlfriends had sent to them.

And why aren’t their photos leaked? Because women do not try and oppress men the way that men patriarchally oppress women. I would not be surprised if 100 percent of the comments on the websites were from jilted men, further harassing and debasing other women for no other purpose than to feel empowered by robbing the women of their freedom. These males are, in terms of revenge porn, taking absolute control of the females’ sexuality. Males use females’ sexuality to exploit them when a female’s sexuality is no longer individually benefits them. They punish women for the same thing they found so attractive in them in the first place.

These women are in serious danger. They lose their jobs, get rape and death threats online daily, have to handle the embarrassment of exploitation that will follow them for the rest of their lives and face the societal judgment that they did this to themselves.

In today’s world, everyone has photos they would rather keep private, but if they do get leaked, does it immediately mean the victim is to blame because they were the photographer? I think it is crucial to point out that in terms of naked photographs, the partner did not simply receive them without asking, but usually requested them.

So, imagine: a man asks for a photo, seemingly encouraging liberal female sexuality, only to then degrade that same photo and target her sexuality. Everyone knows it is dangerous to take explicit photos, but people take them anyway. Still, women are blamed when they are released because men set the standards for the leaked information of women that the men leak themselves. In this cycle, women are caught apologizing for what a man did to her and because of this, she ends up being blamed. Revenge porn highlights the double standard men hold women to and the patriarchal society that allows them to do it.

Unfortunately, no woman is safe, because law officials do not truly know how to handle cases of online harassment and abuse. The Internet, which has become so prominent in daily life, is the most ambiguous part of our life.

Laws prohibiting the distribution of pornographic material without both parties’ consent cannot come soon enough — not only for women, but for anyone who has been violated by someone they once loved. I can only hope that this jurisdiction will spread worldwide sooner, because we cannot wait until later.