Bill to Stop Revenge Porn Passes House Committee

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“Revenge porn” legislation is making its way through the State Legislature this session.  Representative John Lesch (D-district 66B) presented HF 2741 in the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance committee this morning, which aims to provide a course of actions for those affected by the non-consensual dissemination of sexual images, videos, film recordings, or digital photographs and recordings.  The act of sharing such media without consent is called by some “revenge porn.” If passed, the law would go into effect on August 1, 2016.

The move to create a revenge porn law is part of a broader movement that is sweeping the nation. According to the advocacy group End Revenge Porn, 26 states currently have laws protecting victims of the viscous act of disseminating sexual media. Minnesota’s neighbors in North Dakota and Wisconsin are among the states who have enacted laws with the intention of preventing revenge porn, and punishing those who break the law.

Even national media has picked up on the dangers of revenge porn.  John Oliver completed a 16 minute segment on the subject, and called for federal legislation. “Nowadays you can click a button and buy a book, meet your spouse or ruin someone’s life. Sometimes those last two are the same click,” stated Oliver.

Caroline Palmer, Law and Policy Manager for the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault testified during the committee meeting, pointing out that it’s not fair to blame the victims for being in private sexual media, because they rightfully “expected privacy.”  Palmer added,”Privacy is a fundamental right in our country.”

Elle Williams, a 21 year old victim of relationship abuse gave her emotional testimony at the committee today as well, and pleaded with the committee to pass Lesch’s bill. In her first sexual encounter at age 19, Williams was unknowingly filmed by her than 24 year old boyfriend.  Once told about the video, her boyfriend disclosed that the video would be deleted.  Upon breaking up, her now ex-boyfriend is threatening to publish the sex tape that he didn’t delete.

Williams told the committee that the passage of the bill would provide her, “the biggest relief,” and she would no longer have to “live with the unknown.”  She concluded by asserting to the committee,”Please do the right thing and take action.”

The committee approved the bill, and it has been sent for consideration to the Civil Law and Data Practices Committee. To be the first to hear whether or not the Civil Law and Data Practices Committee approves the bill, subscribe to Alpha News.

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