Petition Closed
Petitioning Attorney General of Illinois The Honorable Lisa Madigan

Protect Women from "Revenge Porn": Amend Illinois Cyberstalking Laws

Despite what is advertised, “Revenge Porn” is not pornography. When it all comes down, Revenge Porn is simply harassment. Still, according to state cyberstalking laws, it is not a crime. But it should be. Ask any victim how they feel about their intimate photos exposed for the whole world to see, and they will use terms like “violated,” “humiliated,” “degraded,” and “cyber-raped.” Many people argue these terms. Of course, they are not victims. Those who don’t argue, and those who understand, are trying their best to fight Revenge Porn. But for most of them, it’s been an uphill battle. Why?

Because they have been fighting the wrong people.

They have been fighting the website owners, like Hunter Moore, of the now defunct “Isanyoneup.com.” But in fighting Revenge Porn, we must realize that Revenge Porn website owners do not build their empires alone; the scorned ex-lovers, who post the intimate photos, build their empires for them.

Revenge Porn website owners have immunity from harassment claims because of the 230 Section of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that protects them from legal liability for content that is posted to their websites by third parties. However, this law does not protect the third parties - the perpetrators - who post on their websites. This is why Revenge Porn website owners remind these perpetrators, through complicated terms of use, that they are ultimately liable for their own actions.

In fighting Revenge Porn, we must shift our attention from Revenge Porn website owners, who are merely facilitators of harassment, to the real root of harassment: The perpetrators who post the photos. In order to punish these perpetrators, we must amend current state cyberharassment laws that unintentionally protect the perpetrators through the use of two overlooked loopholes. With amendment of these loopholes, the perpetrators will fail to post due to criminal consequences, and the Revenge Porn empire will quickly crumble with nothing to sustain it.

Please join us in petitioning the Honorable Attorney General Lisa Madigan for elimination of these loopholes through amendment of Illinois cyberstalking laws or enactment of an Illinois invasion of privacy statute that criminalizes Revenge Porn.

As perpetrators prepare to launch geo mapping to encourage stalking of revenge porn victims, we need to act more than ever.

If we don’t, it may be too late.

Letter to
Attorney General of Illinois The Honorable Lisa Madigan
Protect Women from "Revenge Porn": Amend Illinois Cyberstalking Laws

We, your Illinois constituents, are writing to you to request amendment of legislation to protect women from Revenge Porn, an act of harassment characterized by unauthorized online publication of a woman’s intimate photos.

Current Illinois legislation does not protect women from this harassment because of two loopholes in its cyberstalking laws.

According to Illinois law, "a person commits cyberstalking when he or she engages in a course of conduct using electronic communication directed at a specific person.”

“Course of conduct” means “2 or more acts.”

Unfortunately, since the act of publication of a woman’s intimate photos is not “directed at” a specific person, and one time publication is not “2 or more acts,” current legislation does not define “Revenge Porn” as harassment.

But it is.

When a woman clearly protests the publication of her intimate photos, the perpetrator’s act of publication, though not directly communicated to her, is clearly intended to harass and degrade her. This act of publication, though happening just one time, can devastate a woman for the rest of her life. It is continuous harassment played out for the whole world to see.

The publication of these intimate photos, which includes a woman’s face, name, and social media accounts, demeans and humiliates women everywhere. It affects their jobs, their family, their emotional health, and, most importantly, their reputation. While they suffer in silence and powerlessness, their perpetrator, often a scorned ex-lover, is at peace, knowing that he will never suffer consequences for his actions.

And now, in a sicker, new way to degrade their victims, perpetrators are preparing to launch a geo mapping feature that provides detailed directions to a victim’s house in order to encourage stalking of her.

That is why we - families and friends of revenge porn victims – urgently petition you for amendment of Illinois cyberstalking statutes or enactment of an Illinois invasion of privacy statute that criminalizes the unauthorized publication of intimate photos.

The state of New Jersey has an enacted such as statute. It reads as follows:
An actor commits a crime of the third degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he discloses any photograph, film, videotape, recording or any other reproduction of the image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, unless that person has consented to such disclosure. For purposes of this subsection, "disclose" means sell, manufacture, give, provide, lend, trade, mail, deliver, transfer, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, advertise or offer.
N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:14-9

Please help us to protect the women we love.

Thank you so much for your time and all that you do to support the causes of women.

Respectfully,
WomenAgainstRevengePorn.com