The California Revenge Porn Bill has passed the Senate

• September 29, 2013

In a little less than a month we will know if California’s new revenge porn law will pass. It is now sitting on the governor’s desk, awaiting a signature. According to NBC, the state Senate and Assembly both passed the law unanimously.

Given this fact it would be a surprising political move for Governor Brown to veto the bill. However, anything is possible.

The punishments for posting revenge porn still aren’t terribly harsh under this new law. 1 year in jail and a $1000 fine is all a perpetrator would face for destroying someone’s life. The bill also doesn’t cover “selfies.” If you took your own nude photograph and someone else posts it there’s no penalty for that person, even if they obtain and post that photograph without your knowledge or consent. At least one law maker intends to include “selfie” protection in later attempts to strengthen the bill. One has only to read the entire NBC story to note how serious revenge porn really can be. One teenager killed herself after her rapists chose to post photographs of her rape on such a site.

Most cases aren’t so drastic. Many victims do their best to soldier on, though many have had to change their names or leave their home towns to do so. If California’s new law takes effect it will, indeed, be a step in the right direction. But it may not be a big enough step. And there will still be 48 additional states where there are no penalties for revenge porn at all.

The need to maintain First Amendment protections and a general “blame the victim” mentality are both working against the passage of any serious protections in all 50 states. Our company works to reverse the damage when someone has been targeted by a vengeful ex. Getting the photographs removed and building a positive firewall around future attempts on a woman’s reputation are good first steps. But even when we’re successful we are aware that some part of the victim’s life has still been lost.

By the time she comes to us she may have already lost her job, her family, and her friends. We can’t give all of that back.

We can, however, work to give victims a fresh start until the laws put an end to this nasty phenomenon once and for all.