Revenge porn is something mankind has been doing for centuries—capturing or recreating images of nudity, even sexuality. From Paleolithic art, to Renaissance masterpieces, to, yes, Playboy, and even Playgirl magazines. There’s something about it that’s fascinating, awe-striking and, of course, stimulating. But mix in the ease and convenience of today’s technology and we have a whole new level of titillation, temptation—and a whole new level of danger.

Katelyn Bowden knows all about it, in fact, she’s going into 2018 as an expert on what’s called “revenge porn,” or the abuse of someone else’s images, usually, very personal, intimate images that were taken privately and meant to stay private, but end up shared online. As a victim herself, the 32-year-old, stay at home mom is finding a voice she never knew she had.
Revenge Porn  Expert

Click here to see part of my chat with her as she describes how a teenager turned to her for help.

“I get to make a difference…and that is really what has empowered me, I feel better about my own experience but know I’m helping others with theirs too.”

The Youngstown, Ohio woman is on a mission to put an end to the disturbing, destructive and vile trend. It’s a growing issue, more like a nightmare, for more people every day on a global level.

Who’s at risk for Revenge Porn and Cyberbulling?

Of course, if there are no such pictures that exist of you, you’re probably thinking this doesn’t affect you. Think again.

Many of the revenge porn victims have had their faces photoshopped onto pictures of nude bodies! There’s a whole forum just for that, according to Katelyn. Surely, you’ve heard of allegations some tabloid rags pull similar stunts with celebs.

Her Story…

Katelyn’s own story is as typical and hellish as it gets.

“I heard from a friend I was on the internet somewhere, I go to the link they followed and, low and behold, it’s my private photos taken for an ex-boyfriend, we had been together for three years and his phone was stolen.”

The tall, thin woman is nervous as she sits down with me to explain; speaking out and taking such a public stand is way out of her comfort zone. She’s known trouble in her life, the single mom has been through some tough times, but has never known this kind of humiliation. The embarrassment is clear as she hesitates describing the horror of finding her nude pictures plastered all over one of a few websites designed specifically to exploit anyone who’s compromising photos end up in the wrong hands.

“It was sheer panic, I felt betrayed, I felt paranoid, I felt alone.”

That’s exactly what motivated her to take a chance and reach out, via Facebook, to anyone else who knows the feeling, forming a group she now proudly calls “B.A.D.A.S.S.” It stands for “Battling Against Demeaning and Abusive Selfie Sharing” (originally the “B” was for “Babes,” until she realized men are victims, too). The response is overwhelming, in only a few months her “army,” as she calls it, has grown to more than five hundred members, prompting her to create a website and open accounts on other social media platforms as well. Her quest is twofold: to offer support to other victims and to work in unity to bring down the offending websites.

Tireless Work

“It’s astounding to me,” says Kate Venable, an attorney working with the group, “Katelyn’s mission is a first of a kind on this level.” In fact, she says it’s bringing attention to the issue like never before as media from around the world turn to Katelyn to learn more.

Venable’s own research on “revenge porn” indicates law regarding such violation is nowhere near keeping up with technology and believes the information gathered by B.A.D.A.S.S. will change that as they’re working on building a federal case against the offending sites and pushing for new laws against such harassment. She adds “it’s time this should be looked at from a criminal standpoint.”

As of now, the offending websites, (which I won’t name as to not give them anymore traffic or notoriety) allow people to post pictures anonymously, categorized by state, even city of the victim, and claim the anonymity absolves them of any liability, claiming they only run the site and have no responsibility for what others post. It’s a major loophole Venable says must be done away with. She explains, as of now, at least in Ohio, a victim only has legal recourse if they themselves took the pictures that are posted which gives them the claim to the copyrights, or if the victim can prove their image is being used for a commercial purpose. Even with those cases, getting the pictures removed is challenging.

Exactly how much of a dent Katelyn has made in “revenge porn,” is hard to measure at this point. The fact that she’s drawing so much attention to the problem, even by the Ohio State Legislature, has to count, Venable adds, “now there’s talk on the websites that we are serious…”

Victory In The Making

It’s enough to encourage Katelyn and her followers to keep at it. It means hours of work everyday scouring the sites to identify and notify women, even some teenagers, that they are victims and, finally, inviting them to join for solidarity and support. The more Katelyn learns about those behind the abuse, the more she believes it’s truly going to take the “army” that’s she’s building to win this war, stressing “it’s very scary…just going through it and seeing how huge this entire culture is…it’s terrifying.”

Especially terrifying, she adds, when she thinks of what it might become if left untouched as her own little girls grow up. While she doesn’t know how to explain to them what she does right now, she can only hope they’ll never really have to know.

For more information on Katelyn and her group:
Facebook click here.
Gofundme page click here.
Story in the Daily Telegraph click here.

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