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Why Revenge Porn Is Not Just Celebrity Gossip, It’s A Societal Issue

You may not subscribe to celebrity gossip news, but this issue is beyond that. This is about the seriousness of cyberbullying and revenge porn.

Image credit to the Associated Press.

You have likely heard by now that, several days ago, Rob Kardashian went on a social media rant about his ex-fiancée, Angela Renée White (more commonly known as Blac Chyna). This very public rant included explicit photos of her nude body, which he did not have her consent to share.

Since that initial incident last week, White has been awarded a temporary restraining order against Rob that prohibits him from coming near her home or work, and from posting about her and her children on social media (including photos, and including their daughter Dream, whom she co-parents with Rob).

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You may not subscribe to celebrity gossip news, but this issue is beyond that. This is about cyberbullying, which is extremely harmful, and revenge porn, which is illegal in most states as well as life-ruining. As a collective society, and especially as Fighters, we all have a responsibility to be aware when we have the opportunity to speak out when sexual exploitation is being normalized, sensationalized, and accepted in our society—and that opportunity is right now.

This Is Important

You don’t have to personally care about or follow Rob or Angela on social media to care about Rob’s behavior and actions in this situation. We make sure to take note when cyberbullying in conjunction with revenge porn is being accepted and normalized, and that’s exactly what is happening here.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, here’s a little clarification. According to the Cyberbulling Research Center, “Revenge porn – sometimes known as nonconsensual porn – has been defined as the act of distributing intimate photography through different means without the individual’s consent. While revenge is not always the motivating factor, this act seems to be increasingly utilized by the perpetrator as retaliation for romantic relationships going south, and is becoming more and more prominent with the growing popularity of sexting.”

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The reality is, revenge porn is all too real in the lives of women, girls, men and boys. And that is on all of us as a collective society, because the internet provides what the people want and support. When you think about it, it’s a system of supply and demand. So what can we do about it? We can all help to stop the demand for this kind of behavior and content, and the supply will ideally dry up.

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If revenge porn isn’t on your radar, then what’s important is being aware of its reality, its prevalence, and its very real impact on peoples’ lives. We need to recognize that revenge porn is an issue that deserves our attention and our efforts as Fighters, no matter who it happens to, celebrity or not.

Break The Cycle

As Fighters, we should seek out opportunities to raise awareness on the harmful effects of pornography, and that includes the harmful effects of revenge porn. And in order to raise awareness, we ourselves need to be informed, so be aware of the laws in your area surrounding revenge porn. Learn whether or not it is illegal in your state, so you can more easily report it when you see it.

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Also, pay attention to the opinions and responses of the people around you in your friend circle and on social media. Are they dismissing this issue because it’s about reality TV stars? Are they acting like revenge porn is okay, or “deserved?” By taking note of the pattern of conversation, you’ll be better equipped to step in and drop your knowledge when the moment strikes.

Lastly, take note of the statistics about revenge porn. For example, in one survey, 99% of people showed some level of acceptance of revenge porn.

Because Rob is a celebrity and public figure, there is no doubt that his actions will influence the behavior of young men and boys who see him as a role model of any kind. They will have fewer hesitations about exhibiting similar behavior because they saw him do it.

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And not only did they see him do it, they saw him trend on social media because of it. To the upcoming generations, that can seem like a pretty popularizing thing that gets them likes, clicks, and attention. They might think, “What’s the big deal about ‘Gramming a nude of your ex when it can make you internet famous?” And that’s the problem. Is it is a big deal.

What’s even more scary is that youth can often take things further than the observed behavior. They “model and expand on” the behavior they see in adults; a famous experiment by Albert Bandura, the “Bobo Doll Experiment,” showed that “kids who saw adults hit a doll in frustration not only hit the doll as well, but attacked it with weapons.”

If kids see Rob Kardashian post these explicit and derogatory posts on Instagram, then Twitter, and they notice that Rob is getting a lot of publicity from it, or they notice how much trauma and pain it causes the victim, they’re getting a very skewed message about what is and isn’t acceptable behavior on the internet and in reality.

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So we need to educate not only ourselves, but those around us. We need to take the next step and speak out against these harmful behaviors—not only to hold those accountable that participate in them, but to show impressionable young people that it isn’t cool to degrade someone at all, let alone through something so demeaning and dehumanizing as sharing revenge porn.

Get The Facts

Revenge Porn Is A Real Issue

Some estimates indicate that there are about 2,000 revenge-porn-specific websites on the internet. And what’s even more disturbing is that they get enough support to stay online. The fact is, supply follows demand. And we need to do our part to stop the demand.

Related: Italian Woman Commits Suicide One Year After Sex Tape Unexpectedly Goes Viral

It’s simply not enough to know about and disagree with cyberbullying and revenge porn, we need to take action in order to put a stop to this type of victimization, violence, and bullying.

So, what can we do as Fighters?

Speak Out

Speak out by remembering and emphasizing that this issue is fundamentally about consent, it’s about sexual exploitation, and it’s about respecting another person’s humanity, instead of humiliating and objectifying them.

We often speak about the serious dangers of sexting but let the crucial message of consent permeate your conversations about this issue. Whether White (or any other revenge porn victim) “should have” sent those photos is not the issue here, the simple fact is that Rob Kardashian violated the law and engaged in behavior that should not be acceptable, but is being treated by many as if it’s both acceptable and funny. The truth is, it is neither. As Angela White’s attorney, Lisa Bloom, plainly stated, “Revenge porn is illegal. Cyberbullying your ex is harassment.”

Join the Fight

Actively join the fight for healthy relationships and speak out against acceptance of revenge porn and cyberbullying among your friends and peers on social media, and in real life. Share articles like this one with a message about how harmful revenge porn is, and know what to do in case you see revenge porn posted or become a victim of revenge porn yourself.

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Victim Support, an independent UK charity which provides help and information to victims of crime, say it is important for people targeted through explicit pictures not to suffer in silence. If you do report the crime to police it is important, where possible, to take screenshots of any social media posts or messages. After that you can also contact any website where the images have been shared and ask for them to be removed.

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Why This Matters To All Of Us

When you see posts about this issue, we encourage you to emphasize that it’s harmful behavior, doesn’t reflect well on the person sharing it, and isn’t the kind of thing you want your friends to engage in. Hopefully if enough people speak up, those posting revenge porn and other cyberbullying content will get the message that no one thinks it’s cool.

RelatedUK Schools Might Start Teaching About The Harms Of Porn & Sexting

The science and research behind the harms of porn are coming out daily. The fact is, porn harms the brain, damages relationships, and negatively affects our society as a whole. Revenge porn is yet another toxic example of how porn can be destructive, and this current issue in our pop culture is shining a bright light on how much work we have to do as a society before it will widely be comprehended how damaging it is.

With revenge porn, the consumers gets another flavor of pornography at the expense of real people’s lives getting destroyed—and that’s unacceptable, reality TV star or not.

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