On Wednesday, Amber Heard headed to the U.S. Capitol to speak in support of a bill that aims to make revenge porn a federal crime.
The bill, dubbed the SHIELD Act (Stopping Harmful Image Exploitation and Limiting Distribution), much like statewide bills passed in places like New York and California, would criminalize the sharing of revenge porn, and “targets perpetrators who knowingly share sexually explicit or nude images of someone without their consent.”
According to Page Six, Heard dug into the deleterious effects of revenge porn, pointing out that the practice disproportionally affects women, and is both difficult to prosecute and to remove from the internet:
“Nonconsensual porn is one of the worst violations of privacy and it doesn’t discriminate, instead it disproportionately affects women around the world with devastating consequences,” Heard said.
“Intimate content released into the internet is virtually impossible to remove, further subjecting victims to harassment and judgment from strangers and acquaintances alike,” the “Aquaman” star continued.
“It can result and often does in devastating and economic, social psychological consequences.”
Heard also recounted to Congress an infamous 2014 incident in which nude photos of her were released online as part of a massive leak of celebrity images. “My stolen and manipulated photos are still online to this day, posted again and again with sexually explicit and humiliating and degrading headlines about my body, about myself,” she said, according to the Washington Post. “I continue to be harassed, stalked and humiliated by the theft of those images.”
There is currently no law at the federal level criminalizing revenge porn. The SHIELD Act is sponsored by Reps. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and John Katko (R-NY), and backed by Kamala Harris, who spoke to Vice’s Motherboard vertical this week about the law:
“Nobody, under any circumstances, should have private images shared on the internet without their consent,” Harris told Motherboard. “I’m proud to join with my colleagues in the House to reintroduce legislation that will give prosecutors important new tools to bring perpetrators to justice and further deter them from committing such an egregious violation of privacy.”
Read more on revenge porn, and how to combat it, here.