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Ohio to Consider Protections for "Revenge Porn" Victims

More than 30 states have enacted legislation that addresses the sharing of private images. (Pro Juventue/Flickr)
More than 30 states have enacted legislation that addresses the sharing of private images. (Pro Juventue/Flickr)
January 18, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Senate will soon take up the issue of so-called revenge porn.

Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, said he will introduce legislation that will provide a pathway for civil action for those whose nude or sexually explicit photos are posted online without their consent.

It's a digital-age problem, which he explains can happen when someone's phone or computer are stolen or hacked, or when an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend decides to get even after a break-up.

"Probably not the best decision to send that nude picture, but did not by any stretch want that to go out on the Internet, want that to go on Facebook and, God forbid, one of these sites that actually tries to find pictures of exes as a revenge on that person," he said.

Schiavoni said those sites blackmail victims into paying large amounts of money to have salacious photos removed.

Among its provisions, the legislation would prevent universities or colleges from withdrawing financial aid or scholarships from revenge-porn victims, and protect victims from disciplinary action. It also calls for protections for employment and licensure so victims are not demoted or fired from their jobs.

Schiavoni is working with law enforcement to add a criminal component to the bill so those who distribute revenge porn are brought to justice.

"It can honestly take somebody's life, and it has,” he said. “Just because it consumes you and everywhere you turn, this image shows up. Whether you're at school, whether you're at your job, whether you're in social groups, it really is a problem."

More than 30 other states have enacted legislation that addresses the sharing of private images.

This collaboration is produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded by the George Gund Foundation.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH