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Cracking down on 'revenge porn'

4:22 PM, Oct 30, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- It's vindictive, cruel, and if one Maryland lawmaker has it his way it will soon be illegal.

We are taking about "revenge porn." It's the act of publishing compromising and intimate pictures of a former significant other for no other reason than to get back at them.

WUSA9's Ken Molestina reports it happens more than you might think and now Maryland delegate Jon Cardin is out to stop it.

The sites aren't hard to find. A simple google search for revenge porn will give you several internet options where angry ex's can post mostly nude and intimate photos of their previous loved ones for the world to see. The idea is they are getting revenge on someone they believe wronged them. 

"I was very afraid to leave the house. I went on medical leave from work for 3 months," Annmarie Chiarini tells us an ex-boyfriend targeted her after a rough break up, and decided revenge porn was the way for him to even the score. She says among other things he tried selling her intimate photos on e-bay, and he sent copies of those same pictures to her employer. 
     
"It's absolutely terrifying. I mean certainly it's embarrasing, and with crimes of a sexual nature there is always a certain amount of shame involved."
     
The college professor turned victim's advocate says there was no law in place back in 2010 to stop it from happening or punishing the person she claims did this to her. Now, delegate Jon Cardin of Maryland say's it time to change that. 

"I want to make sure that we give people the opportunity to be protected and safe."

On wednesday, Cardin is expected to propose new legislation that would criminalize nonconsensual disclosure of sexually explicit pictures and videos.

"At least 1 in 20 people have been effected by this kind of cyber harrassment, and one in 5 people have been harassed or intimidated by the internet."

 It's a bill that could have helped Chiarini 3 years ago and while it works it's way through the Maryland legislature, she is offering this advice to anyone who may have fallen prey to revenge porn. 

"Speak out...tell your story."


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