My name’s Helen. I’m a writer, broadcaster, a teacher and a mum. There are parts of society that have told me the way to avoid becoming a victim of revenge porn is to never send intimate images of yourself to anyone, just as the way to avoid sexual assault is to monitor your own clothing, behaviour and alcohol consumption.
I've never shared intimate photos. But I recently found out that, since 2017, someone has been taking images of me from private social media and other sources and uploading them to a porn site, using my first name, inviting other users to photoshop my face onto explicit and violent sexual images.
These images are known as 'deepfakes'. Unlike other forms of revenge porn, creating pictures or videos like this is not yet illegal in the UK, though it is in some places in the US. The police were unable to help me.
In 2019, law expert Dr Aislinn O’Connell told The Independent that our current laws on image sharing are piecemeal and not fit for purpose. In October 2018 The Women and Equalities Committee called on the UK Government to introduce new legislation on image-based sexual abuse in order to criminalise ALL non-consensual creation and distribution of intimate sexual images. Let's make it happen.
My ordeal left me feeling frightened, ashamed, paranoid and devastated. But I won't let it silence me - I would like to petition the government to move quickly and make 'deepfakes' and similar malicious content illegal, creating one clear law to ban the taking, making and faking of these harmful images. Please join me.