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I was a victim of revenge porn – the law must change to make it easier for victims to get justice

(MultiStory Media for ITV2)

4 min read

Would you be distressed if images or videos of you stripped naked or engaging in a sexual act were posted online? I’m sure for most the answer would be yes.

Two years ago I became a victim of voyeurism and image-based sexual abuse. I was secretly recorded by an ex-partner engaging in a sexual act. He then went on to sell the footage on his OnlyFans account, damaging every aspect of my life in the process without a shred of remorse.

After revealing that he had recorded the footage, I made it exceptionally clear that if he distributed it, it would ruin my life and cause me an unthinkable amount of distress. He has now been convicted for two counts of image-based sexual abuse and is currently serving 21 months behind bars.

I am a shadow of the girl I once was

However conviction rates for this crime are horrifyingly low. Only around six per cent of victims manage to get their perpetrators charged. This excludes the thousands of victims that do not come forward. It’s clear from the overwhelming number of victims who share their stories with me that this has become an epidemic. I have had messages from parents with children as young as 12 seeking advice on what to do as their child has become a victim of revenge porn.

Stephen Bear knew that sharing the video would cause me distress but his driving motivation for this abhorrent crime was not revenge. Far from it, we suspect his motivations were monetary gain and infamy. Had I not had the opportunities I did to make it clear to him that this would cause me distress, he could have hung me up naked on a wall for millions of people to see and there would be little I could do through the courts to stop him. 

Even if I had given him consent to record us in a sexual act, he had absolutely no right to share that sort of intimate footage without my permission. Anyone in my position would surely feel extremely hurt, violated and abused. It should not matter what the intention was, it should be illegal regardless.

With the rise in subscription platforms giving the everyday user easy access to run their own porn channels, there is far more temptation for people to post footage without consent to make a profit. This is not currently illegal but it is wrong on every level and it needs to be stopped. If not for us, for our children. We need to protect them and the laws around image-based sexual abuse are simply not working. 

The government must start taking this seriously and ensure victims without a voice are given a chance at justice. We need to see conviction rates rise to deter future offenders.

I am a shadow of the girl I once was, I truly am. But, for me there is still hope. Luckily I work in an industry that is forgiving when it comes to this sort of situation. However, for so many their career and reputation dissipates the second their privacy and dignity is ripped from beneath their feet and there really is no coming back. For any politician reading this, I’m sure you can understand that had this happened to you, you would most likely lose all of your credibility. The least you would want is a shot at justice – a shot at redemption! 

I am calling on MPs to take a stand and pass legislation to remove the malicious intent loophole, before more women have to suffer from this erroneous law. We need action, we need change and we need your help to make it happen. 

 

For more information on my personal story, my documentary Revenge Porn: Georgia vs Bear is available on ITVX and will help to educate you on the dangers of this crime

Georgia Harrison, former Love Island contestant and reality TV star

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