Revenge porn is rarely prosecuted despite deadly consequences

A newspaper harassed the winner of a talent show by publishing pornographic stills and claiming that she had won the contest because of sexual favors.

Dialekti Angeli
Dialekti Angeli NewsMavens, Greece
Revenge porn is rarely prosecuted despite deadly consequences - NewsMavens
woman, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Revenge porn can happen to a famous person or to the girl next door.

The essence of the trend is that, once again, the privacy of a woman is cruelly violated, and her sexual life -- via private pictures or erotic videos -- becomes an object of exploitation and blackmail. 

This model’s case came to light a few days after the father of murder victim Eleni Topaloudi made a very serious accusation on air: “[These men] were blackmailing other young women (…) I do not know whether there were any other people. Perhaps with some pills, some sleeping pills, they did what they did and then they were blackmailing these young girls.”

This is not a new problem. In 2016, 31-year-old Tiziana Cantone put an end to her life because she could not bear the humiliation and public ridicule once her sex tape went viral after being released online by friends. She had even been forced to change her home and her last name.

Also in 2016, Lina Koemtzi put an end to her life by jumping out of the 9th floor of a student dormitory in the city of Thessaloniki. She had received threats that that her personal videos and photos would be published. The incident has been divided into two separate cases. The first case file is at the Prosecutor’s Office of Giannitsa, and a person has been accused of violating her personal data and will face a court hearing in February. The second case is with the Thessaloniki Prosecutor, who ordered an expedited prosecution in 2017 December -- but the investigation is still ongoing.

In most EU member states, online violence against women is not prosecuted. The EU countries with provisions for the criminalization of revenge porn are Germany, France, Malta, and the United Kingdom. Similar provisions are under way in Ireland and Slovenia.

Details from the story:

  • Irene Kazarian had recently won the title of Greece's Next Top Model in a televised competition. This made her the ideal victim for the newspaper "Makeleio", which accused her of appearing in a porn video and of cheating to win the competition. Kazarian denounced "Makeleio" and denied having appeared in pornographic material. 
  • Non-consensual pornography is also known as online exploitation or "revenge porn". Experts prefer the term "sexual abuse by image," considering it more accurate.
  • Revenge porn is the distribution of sexually explicit images or video of individuals without their permission. The sexually explicit images or video may be made by a partner in an intimate relationship with the knowledge and consent of the subject, or may be made without his or her knowledge. The possession of the material may be used by the perpetrators to blackmail the subjects into performing other sex acts, to coerce them into continuing the relationship, or to punish them for ending the relationship.
  • According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE): 90% of the victims of revenge pornography are women One out of ten women has experienced some form of online violence.  Seven out of ten women who have experienced online harassment also experienced at least one form of physical and/or sexual violence by their partner.
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