Revenge Porn. Photo: Cybercrime Magazine.

Cyber Civil Rights Initiative Combats Revenge Porn

CCRI reports a huge increase in calls to its victim hotline

Amanda Glassner

Northport, N.Y. – May 20, 2021

It’s time to talk about nonconsensual pornography (NCP).

Otherwise known as revenge porn, NCP is the distribution of private, sexually explicit images of individuals without their consent. It’s one of the most damaging forms of cybercrime, yet the least discussed.

Why? The stigma surrounding this heinous crime keeps most victims quiet; it’s generally left unreported and, consequently, goes unpunished.

Dr. Asia Eaton is determined to change that.

Alongside her role as an associate professor of psychology at Florida International University, Eaton is the head of research at the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) — whose mission is to combat online abuses that threaten civil rights and civil liberties.

“NCP is an emerging form of intimate partner violence, and it has serious, long-term consequences for victims,” she declared.


Cybercrime Radio: Dr. Asia Eaton, Head of Research at CCRI

“We need to develop a culture of zero tolerance…”


While it most often occurs within intimate relationships, NCP can still target individuals outside of them via an array of scenarios — including a phone hack, sextortion, recorded sexual assault (RSA), and even digitally manipulated audio-visual material (a.k.a “deepfakes”).

Sadly, this happens more often than you might think. In the U.S., as many as one in 12 adults have felt the devastating impact of NCP, according to research from the CCRI’s 2019 publication with the American Psychological Association. But there is one victim at high risk.

“This is a gender-based form of violence,” Eaton told us. Because of the society we live in, “women are more often victims, and men are more often perpetrators.”

And although most perpetrators don’t mean to cause real harm, they do. Victims report significantly worse mental and physical health than non-victims, as well as symptoms of PTSD, problems in their social lives, and economic consequences.

Experience with NCP can even lead to job loss, deterioration of personal relationships, and psychological trauma severe enough to drive many to contemplate, and in some cases, commit suicide.

In 2020, cybercrime spiked by 600 percent — cyber sexual abuse and violence included. The CCRI saw a 40 percent increase in calls to their victim hotline last year, as did the UK Revenge Porn Helpline, proving the threat of NCP is at an all-time high.

It is urgent that we destigmatize, and ultimately put a stop to, this monstrous crime before anyone else suffers. By raising awareness, Eaton and the CCRI are well-positioned to create a world in which NCP is taken as seriously as it needs to be.

“Perpetrators of this crime have to understand just how illegal and harmful it is,” she said. From there, “we need to develop a culture of zero tolerance, avoid victim-blaming, and invest in prevention and intervention.”

Further, we must call for federal legislation to protect privacy for adults in the U.S., as there is no comprehensive law to do so currently. The SHIELD Act — an amendment to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 — is on track to be the first.

This bipartisan measure will address NCP and eliminate the unfair requirement that in order to be found guilty, the perpetrator must have actively intended to cause harm — giving many victims new hope of getting justice. 

For more information on NCP, including victim resources, FAQ, and an online removal guide, visit CyberCivilRights.org.

If you are a victim of NCP residing in the U.S., please call the CCRI Crisis Helpline at 844-878-CCRI (2274).

Listen to Eaton’s full interview here.

Amanda Glassner is a staff writer and reporter at Cybercrime Magazine.

Go here to read all of my blogs and articles covering cybersecurity. Go here to send me story tips, feedback and suggestions.



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