Why You Should Think Twice Before Sending a Nude Photo...

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Last week it was reported that singer and Love and Hip-hop Hollywood star, Teairra Mari’s (ex?) boyfriend released a sex tape for the world to see, without her consent. Now since this story has dropped, there have been many twists and turns that I refuse to get into (it’s just too messy in my opinion). Instead, I’d like to focus on a much larger and sadly common issue – revenge porn. It’s no secret that we live in a digital age, we have so many things at our fingertips; that type of freedom is actually pretty liberating if you ask me. But where there is good, there’s also bad! I think it’s safe to say that revenge porn is a prime example of what’s not so good about the internet.

For those that don’t know, revenge porn can be defined as sexually suggestive images (pictures/videos), typically of a former romantic partner that are posted online or otherwise shared without the person’s consent. Over the last decade, there have been plenty of celebrities that have been victimized by their own private sexual photos and homemade movies – (Think Blac Chyna, Leslie Jones, and Jennifer Lawrence). Whether you’re rich and famous, or a regular girl like me, it’s an act that is malicious and downright disturbing, but sadly hard to punish in most places. Although many are advocating for this heinous act to be punishable as a federal crime, there’s still ways to go. As it stands, there are currently 38 states plus the District of Columbia that have revenge porn laws in place. (Click here to see your state's stance on the issue.) The problem is, these crimes are treated differently once you cross state borders. In one state revenge porn is seen as a misdemeanor and another may treat it as a felony. Because of this, many victims feel like they are getting the short end of the stick.

It’s important to note that anyone of us could fall victim to revenge porn. It’s not only a problem for women, men can be victimized as well. According to a 2016 study by the Data & Society Research Institute, 1 in every 25 people have been a victim of their naked photos or videos being shared, or posted without their consent. Reasons for these acts vary – it can be a disgruntled ex-lover, a hacker looking to have a ransom paid, or a certified creep that gets their rocks off by sharing sexual photos with other creeps! What’s scary is that once something is online, it’s hard to erase. For the rest of your life, you run the risk of your friends, family, and colleagues seeing this stuff and asking you uncomfortable questions. Even if you're successful in getting a site to remove your images, the internet is permanent and it’s extremely easy to snap a screen shot or save a raunchy video. (If you've ever been a victim - click here).

I don’t think there's anything wrong with keeping things spicy in a relationship, or having fun. Sexting is a relevant part of our culture now. However, you have to be smart! So before you take that risque’ photo and send it to your boo, remember these easy tips!

1. No face - no trace! 

That's right. If you feel compelled to send something, avoid showing your face, tattoos, or anything else that people may be able to recognize. That way if something leaks, you don't feel like a scarlet letter has been stamped on your forehead! 

2. Protect your devices!

Hackers are EVERYWHERE and they are crafty! Protect yourself by protecting your devices. Create difficult passwords and change them periodically, lock your phones and all that good stuff. Don't make things so easy for them. 

3. Know your audience! 

I think this is pretty self-explanatory but so many of us neglect to really do so. Before you open up and share something so private, know who you're dealing with. What's their level of maturity, how do they deal with anger, are they trustworthy? These are questions you need to ask yourself BEFOREHAND. If the vibe is off - there is no shame in denying their request! 

Sadly, there are no easy solutions to this revenge porn problem. But that doesn't mean we can't all benefit from smartening up! I hope you'll truly consider thinking twice before sending those nudes! Until next time...XOXO