My ex-boyfriend posted sexual pictures of me on the internet but police said they could do nothing. How is it not illegal? ; THE RISE OF 'REVENGE... [Sunday Mirror (England)]
(Sunday Mirror (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) My ex-boyfriend posted sexual pictures of me on the internet but police said they could do nothing. How is it not illegal? ; THE RISE OF 'REVENGE PORN' INVESTIGATES [Eire Region]
WITH trembling hands, 21-yearold Hannah Thompson typed in the web address and hit enter.
What appeared in front of her over the next few seconds made her stomach lurch.
Photo after photo of a naked girl taken from every angle filled her screen, each complete with a string of lurid comments from men underneath.
Hannah looked into the girl's eyes and dashed to the bathroom to throw up.
The face on screen was hers.
Hannah had become a victim of revenge porn - a chilling new internet phenomenon in which jilted lovers upload explicit intimate photos and videos of their ex-partners for the world to see. Often along with personal details and even contact information
The sick craze started in America where it has led to suicides. And now it is sweeping this country, with reports of a dramatic rise in people like Hannah reporting incidents in the last six months. Victims are often forced to pay dedicated revenge porn sites to remove photos and videos. But many are posted on Facebook and Twitter as well as popular blogging site Tumblr, where they can be copied and re-posted in seconds.
It was on Tumblr that Hannah discovered the depths her ex- boyfriend had plumbed.
Her horror deepened even further when she realised there was nothing she could do about it. She complained to police but to no avail. They said her boyfriend had broken no laws.
"I couldn't believe it," says political campaigner Hannah. "How could this not be illegal? All they could do was speak to him on my behalf.
"It seemed crazy that he could set up a fake account using my images and encouraging people to use them as porn and all the police could do was have a word with him."
Hannah was just 18 when she met her ex-boyfriend. It wasn't long before he asked her to send him sexy snaps. Despite feeling nervous, the smitten teenager agreed.
She recalls: "He told me 'this is what everyone does'. It was my first proper relationship so I went along with it."
According to ChildLine, 25 per cent of 13 to 18-year-olds have admitted sending a sexual image of themselves to someone else.
After Hannah and her ex split last year she was horrified to find the pictures had been uploaded to Tumblr with crude slurs.
"I felt physically sick," she said. "They were labelled with things like 'slut' and 'whore'. He was encouraging men to leave derogatory comments."
Terrified, she tried sending him a breezy email asking if he would take the pictures down. He agreed - but a few weeks later they were back up.
Livid, she contacted him again. He took them down again but two weeks later back they came.
Within six months Hannah's pictures had spread across the internet. She says: "I was constantly begging my ex to take them down. I felt manipulated into retaining some form of friendship with him to try to stop him re-uploading the images."
Hannah, of Guildford, Surrey, complained to Tumblr and they took them down. But they were soon back on and it took five attempts before they disappeared. She still fears they are in circulation somewhere.
Her experience is not unique. Single mum Sherene Mullins, 29, had 49 graphic snaps and nine videos of her uploaded to a revenge porn site which describes itself as a "moral free file host".
It boasts more than 1.5 million visitors a day and has more than 23 million pictures and videos.
Sherene's pictures are "tagged" with descriptions including slag, whore, tramp and even Aids.
"When I first found the site, I cried my eyes out," says Sherene of Southampton."
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