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Proposal to Crack Down on 'Revenge Porn' Closer to Becoming Law in Virginia

Bill to make it a crime to maliciously post sexually explicit images of others against their wishes in the Commonwealth awaits governor's signature.

The so-called "revenge porn" legislative proposal by Del. Marcus Simon (Va.-53) is closer to becoming a reality after House and Senate passage.
The so-called "revenge porn" legislative proposal by Del. Marcus Simon (Va.-53) is closer to becoming a reality after House and Senate passage.

The so-called "revenge porn" legislative proposal has been passed by the Virginia House and Senate and now awaits the governor's signature.

The bill would make it a crime to maliciously post explicit images of others against their wishes. Virginia is one of several sites around the country to take up the measure, introduced by Del. Marcus Simon (Va.-53). 

"I am very pleased that the General Assembly has worked in a bipartisan fashion to craft a carefully considered bill that makes it a crime to maliciously post sexually explicit images of another against their wishes in the Commonwealth," Simon said Friday in a statement, regarding the passage of HB 326, which incorporates his HB 49

"Given the overwhelming support this bill received in both houses," he said, "I am optimistic that the Governor will soon be signing it into law."

Nicole Coon, a victim of revenge pornography, said: "When I first realized I was a victim of revenge pornography, I was angry and hurt. No legal recourse meant that I was going to continue to be a victim through no fault of my own. The Senate & House's passage of this legislation is a huge weight off my shoulders. Knowing that my voice is being heard and that my story can help others is truly gratifying. I want to thank the officer who provided me the opportunity to be involved with Delegate Simon and his staff. They have all been a blessing and I will continue to be thankful for their help."

The full text of the bill can be read here.

The next stop will be a signature by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Drew Chapman March 01, 2014 at 07:39 AM
This really needs to be hailed by women's-rights groups, who should be putting pressure on other states to do the same. Revenge porn disproportionately affects girls and women, so this is as much a women's issue as it is a criminal one. The counter-argument often heard is that this law will make criminals of boys who don't know better. Well, sorry. Some acts become legislated as criminal precisely because some people don't know better on their own. Every crime makes criminals of those who engage in it; that's the point. And we allow for latitude with boys through having a separate juvenile justice system. Lastly, one big reason this law is needed is because the violation often never ends. A porn photo posted online can get around the world in no time and exist in digital perpetuity, potentially popping up at any point in the future. The victim has to live with the possibility of being victimized again, forever. Boys "just being boys" who supposedly don't know better need to be taught by their parents the seriousness of this -- and more importantly have instilled in them the value of respect for others, such that they'd *know* this is wrong.
Neil Fox March 01, 2014 at 05:41 PM
Unenforceable. More feel-good legislation.
Natassia Grover March 01, 2014 at 11:05 PM
I am of two minds on this issue. On the one hand, most "revenge porn" are photos that actually belong to the ex-boyfriends. Until pornography itself is outlawed, I don't see how you can criminalize a man for posting a photo or video that was freely given to him with no explicit (pun intended) strings attached. On the other hand, pornography is immoral and destructive on both a personal level and a societal level. It is arguably far more destructive than marijuana, for example, and yet the former is perfectly legal and pretty much unregulated whereas simple possession of the latter in a growing-plant-in-a-pot-of-dirt form can get you jail time. So, either women are truly smart enough to think about all the possible consequences of sending a nude selfie to a boyfriend or allowing a recording of sex, or they are helpless like children and therefore all porn should be abolished because all women involved are quite possibly being exploited. So, which is it?
Drew Chapman March 02, 2014 at 07:48 AM
Natassia -- First, I think you're mixing issues together that aren't related. A woman giving her boyfriend a nude selfie is not at all the same as "professional" porn, in which the women (exploited or not) know their photos will be made public. Second, just because the woman gave her guy the photos without explicitly saying "Don't share it" doesn't give him the right to do whatever he wants with it. For one thing, it's completely ridiculous to think that 99.9% of the women in that situation gave the photo not caring if it were shared; they trusted their guy to keep it to himself. But more importantly, the violation doesn't require a woman to have spoken her request... a woman on a date with a guy doesn't have to say "Don't rape me" to make a subsequent rape illegal. Third, and most significant from a legal perspective, you are confusing the two actions (the giving and the sharing) into one. The law is full of parallels: • I loan you my car to go to the store, but you take off with it for a week. • I give you a gun as a gift, and later you shoot me with it. • I roommate with you, and you end up stealing stuff from me. The first action was one of trust and giving; the subsequent action was a violation that created harm. And by the way, legally, the victim could've been as dumb as bricks for his/her trust, but that doesn't excuse the violation -- the violator is still taking advantage of the other person.
Rick Young March 02, 2014 at 10:51 AM
Great for both sexes and especially children. Anyone voting against this should be asked to explain WHY. All bullying should be applied to this law and addressed at the Federal level. All bullies must be hammer and hammered very severely by Federal laws.
Drew Chapman March 02, 2014 at 12:45 PM
Natassia -- By the way, if you think that porn women are "quite possibly" being exploited, you might want to do some online research into this. The evidence is all there, and it's far from "quite possibly." And it's beyond exploitation to abuse. Worse yet, the numbers of women (and girls) involved are exponentially greater than in the past. Here are a few links to get you started: http://allthingshyper.tumblr.com/post/57195356013/confessions-of-former-pornstars-tw-rape-tw-abuse http://www.policymic.com/articles/66025/porn-stars-can-t-leave-the-industry-and-here-s-why http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/08/09/from-deep-throat-to-lovelace-how-porn-industry-has-changed/
Emmette Coleman March 14, 2014 at 11:09 PM
Posting pornography of others without their consent should be illegal, regardless of whether said pornography would constitute "revenge porn". It doesn't make that that much difference whether or not it's "revenge porn", that should probably at most that should be an aggravating circumstance. "Revenge porn" or not, just don't go posting pornography of someone without his consent.
Laurie McCabe April 11, 2014 at 01:32 AM
Neil Fox is an ignorant pig ... just like is anyone seeking revenge by damaging a person's life in this way ... we criminalize things that are immoral; evil; malicious; deceitful; etc.
Laurie McCabe April 11, 2014 at 01:33 AM
I can hardly wait for July 1, 2014 when lakemonster is charged here in VA Beach.

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