Photo Credit: Leah Juliett. 3 minute read.

Leah Juliett (they/them), who identifies as non-binary, is one of the bravest 20-year-olds out there fighting for the rights of those whose lives are often turned upside down as victims of revenge porn. That’s in part because just five years ago, Leah experienced a dark chapter in this disturbing trend, which didn’t even have a name at that time.

Now, Leah is taking what happened, and fighting back. Using personal experience to shed light on the frustrating and complicated path to justice for victims of revenge porn, they’re taking a stand.

“I was able to tell my story before it got told for me,” Leah said.

The Day Everything Changed

When Leah was just 14 years old, a classmate pressured Leah to share explicit personal pictures with him, to match his graphic and grotesque requests. (Think about that—the request itself is just as troubling as what followed. There’s little doubt the influence porn watching plays in this request, seeing as requesting sexts and a porn habit are interlinked.)

Related: Sex, Tech and Porn, A Shocking Look At What Teens Are Dealing With Today

But what happened to Leah at just 14 years old was a catalyst to them becoming a powerful voice for change, even though the years between were filled with heartache, shame, and even thoughts of suicide.

Then, years later, Leah wrote a poem. They performed it all over, including in a slam poetry contest in Washington D.C. It was, in a very literal way, lifesaving. It was the evidence of Leah’s inside strength to carry on, find courage, and reclaim everything they once thought they had lost.

The world had heard Leah’s words, and they may have even learned a new phrase: revenge porn. And with that knowledge, a new fight was born for the many victims of this unthinkable crime.

Related: The Disturbing World Of Revenge Porn

That’s where Leah headed next. At 20 years old, the poet and activist turned heads again. This time by planning march against revenge porn in April, just one year ago, in Brooklyn, New York to bring an increase of awareness to the problem and danger of revenge porn.

But the battle doesn’t end there. After Leah told their family and sought justice for the personal images that existed online of their body, that were put there without consent or desire, Leah was ready to claim ownership of those images, and get them taken down.

If Only It Were That Easy

Copyright laws can be tricky, and Leah quickly found out that while the photos were of them, they weren’t necessarily considered Leah’s intellectual property.

Secondly, in order to gain legal copyright, which, once theirs, could be a legal tool to insist that certain servers delete those photos, because they didn’t have permission to use them, Leah would have to share these intimate photos even more, this time with the government. This was especially problematic because those photos were of Leah as a minor. And to register a photo as yours, you have to show the photo. And when it comes to revenge porn, especially revenge porn of a minor, that can get uncomfortable.

Related: 14-Year-Old Sued Facebook For Not Removing Revenge Porn

As technology develops, and more and more platforms are used for communicating, you can be sure that porn will find its way onto them as well, unfortunately. And as long as that happens, we will need to collectively figure out how to protect victims who don’t consent.

Right now it’s time to figure out revenge porn, and how to protect others from experiencing what 14-year-old Leah Juliett experienced. Thankfully, Leah’s pain hasn’t been wasted. As Executive Director and Founder of The March Against Revenge Porn, Leah utilizes protest, education, media advocacy and grassroots organizing to shed light on cyber sex crimes. The March Against Revenge Porn advocates for state and federal legislation changes and stigma-free dialogue, and is making waves in changing the conversation around revenge porn

The Proven Harms

The science and research behind the harms of porn and its connections to sex crimes are coming out daily. Porn harms the brain, damages relationships, and negatively affects our society as a whole. Revenge porn is yet another example of how porn is destructive. With revenge porn, the consumers get another type of pornography at the expense of real people’s lives getting destroyed, and we are taking a stand.

Related: Sexting Linked To Increased Porn Consumption, Relationship Insecurity, And Cheating

Join us in fighting sexual exploitation and choosing real love, instead.

Get Involved

Standing up for love can mean something different for each person’s experience. SHARE this post to spread the word and help bring awareness to the troubling issue of revenge porn.

Spark Conversations

This movement is all about changing the conversation about pornography and stopping the demand for sexual exploitation. When you rep a tee, you can spark meaningful conversation on porn’s harms and inspire lasting change in individuals’ lives, and our world. Are you in? Check out all our styles in our online store, or click below to shop:

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