Amber Heard On Why the Term 'Revenge Porn' Fails Its Victims

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In May Amber Heard spoke at the U.S. Capitol in support of the SHIELD Act, which criminalizes the sharing of revenge porn, an issue close to Heard who was one of many celebrities whose nude photos were compromised in a mass leak in 2014. Now she has written an op-ed for the New York Times detailing why state laws fail to protect victims of revenge porn and suggests that we throw out the term altogether and adopt “nonconsensual pornography.”

“This is precisely why “revenge porn,” the term often used to describe this abuse, is the wrong name: It is focused on intent rather than consent,” Heard writes. “What matters is not why the perpetrator disclosed the images; it is that the victim did not consent to the disclosure.”

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Heard writes that while the public does not have a lot of sympathy for celebrities and their privacy (the old “well you traded fame for it” argument often applies), she reminds readers that everyone is essentially one step away from becoming a celebrity these days. “The power of social media makes it possible for any person to be dragged before the eyes of the world,” she writes.

Heard points out that many state laws against revenge porn frame the tactic as a harassment issue, rather than a privacy issue. These laws often require perpetrators to have an intent to inflict emotional or physical harm, which does not account for the casual sharing of nude photographs. Nonconsensual pornography should be treated like a privacy violation, Heard writes, much like the sharing of medical records or Social Security numbers. Given the increasingly prevalence of possessing and taking nude photographs, no matter if you’re a woman running for office or an average teenage girl, the law needs to start treating them as something as common a medical records.

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About the author

Hazel Cills

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel