The Pulse on Gender Equity in Seattle & Beyond

Update: Victims of revenge porn will be better protected by new Washington State laws

Washington StateMartha BurwellComment

What a couple of weeks it's been!  Last week (as I'm sure you're aware of, if only by the fact that rainbows took over social media) the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. 

And now, another victory, this time closer to home.  Earlier I wrote about how Legal Voice, a local nonprofit that fights for women's rights by changing laws, was working to pass bills to fight non-consensual pornography, often referred to as 'revenge porn.' 

This is when someone posts photos or videos of you without your consent--sometimes you don't even know the footage has been taken.  It is often done with vengeance by ex-partners and ex-spouses, hence the nick-name 'revenge porn.'

Women and girls are usually (but not always) the victims, and until now, there was very little they could legally do about it.  Suing for copyright infringement on the photos was one of the best routes.  Seriously. 

For a brief intro, see John Oliver's recent "Last Week Tonight" skit on this topic. (the piece specifically on revenge porn starts at about 6 minutes)

But I'm happy to say that in the near future in Washington state, those who post 'revenge porn' will be hit with criminal charges and civil penalties, due to two bills which passed unanimously in our state legislature.

Here's what Legal Voice had to say:

"Washington State will soon have two new laws that create more effective remedies for victims of nonconsensual pornography (HB 1272 & HB 2160). The Washington Legislature used the second special session - a time when few bills are passed - to take a stand against this growing problem and with Washington women.

Nonconsensual pornography, which you may have heard referred to as "revenge porn," has devastating emotional, psychological, and even financial effects on its victims, who are largely women and girls. These bills create both civil and criminal penalties for the crime, and are now awaiting action by Governor Jay Inslee.

We applaud the Legislature for voting unanimously to enact strong, effective legislation to respond to this problem."

The governor is expected to sign these bills into law soon, and you'll likely hear about it then on major news sources. 

Well done, Legal Voice! 

The earlier blog post I referred to above is "What are those Politicians up to in Olympia Anyway? 'Legal Voice' gives an update."