OREGON:  Revenge Porn” isn’t isolated to online distribution

OREGON: Revenge Porn” isn’t isolated to online distribution

(Release from the Senate Majority Office)
“Revenge porn” isn’t a strictly online phenomenon, and the Oregon Senate updated the law to reflect that fact today.
House Bill 2393 – which passed with a 28-0 vote on the Senate floor – removes the requirement that unlawful dissemination of an intimate image is defined as being imagery distributed via an Internet website.
“No one should have intimate images of themselves made public or distributed broadly without their consent, no matter the medium,” said Sen. Shemia Fagan (D-Portland), who carried the bill on the Senate floor. “The same laws that apply to display a certain type of image on the Internet should apply to text messages, email, and other means. This bill closes a commonly exploited loophole to better fight ‘revenge porn’ in all of its distribution methods.”
Currently, the crime of unlawful dissemination of an intimate image prohibits disclosure of an identifiable image through an Internet website. It does not prohibit the dissemination of these images by means other than the Internet, such as text messages or apps.
“The disclosure of intimate images without consent causes devastating harm as victims to experience threats of sexual assault, stalking, harassment, shaming and, in comes cases, loss of a job or employment opportunities, or they need to transfer to a different school,” said Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force Executive Director Michele Roland-Schwartz.
“Victims experience ongoing humiliation as images are exposed to innumerable viewers on multiple online platforms. We are also aware that images are shared through other methods, such as text messages, email and/or via printed images without the consent of the victim, causing great harm and feelings of shame and isolation.”
House Bill 2393 removes the strict distribution method requirement so that the same imagery being distributed through apps, text messages and other means is just as illegal. The bill is an update to prior legislation meant to protect victims from “revenge porn” – which is defined as the distribution of an intimate image of another person without their consent – by closing a large, important loophole in the language of the law.
“When a person is subject to the non-consensual public dissemination of intimate images, there is great harm inflicted,” Oregon Law Center Director of Public Policy Sybil Hebb said. “This is an extreme violation of privacy and trust and is often behavior that is part of an existing pattern (or a precursor to a future pattern) of abuse, manipulation, stalking, harassment, abuse or sexual violence. Victims of this behavior suffer embarrassment, fear, depression, disruption of job or school activities, and other significant and life-altering damages. … It is now clear that email, texts and other methods of communication are routinely used in cases that the law was designed to address, but is unable to address due to terminology in the statute. HB 2393 updates our law to close loopholes preventing accountability for abusers who use these newer and more common methods of dissemination.”
House Bill 2393 now goes to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature.