Lack of revenge porn laws leave Missouri victims with few options

2 months 1 week 1 day ago Tuesday, October 03 2017 Oct 3, 2017 Tuesday, October 03, 2017 5:15:00 PM UTC October 03, 2017 in News
By: Kevin Ko, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - With one picture, Lela Rice said her sexuality was stolen, her privacy was breached, and her consent was an after-thought.

“I don’t want to put naked pictures on the internet forever,” Rice said. "They took that option away from me. Now, I can never be a person who didn’t have nudes on the internet.”

She also said it was a picture she only found out about because a friend saw it first.

“I just got a text from a friend of mine that said, ‘Hey, do you follow this ‘MizzouSnaps’ account?” Rice said. “I don’t really know how Snapchat works, but somebody ran this account, anybody could send in Snapchat's of anything, and they would just upload them to the story for the public. It had a lot to do with the crazy party scene at MU, and that’s not really my cup of tea, so I didn’t know.”

Rice is referring to a Snapchat account that was commonly known as “Mizzou_Snaps.” The account had no affiliation with MU, but was popular with students in 2014. The last tweets from a Twitter account that advertises itself as the “official Twitter of Mizzou_Snaps” shows the most recent tweets to be from December 2014. Rice said her pictures were publicly displayed during that time.

“I had to add this person and go through their snap story and it’s just dozens of snaps,” Rice said. “I’m just going through all of these snaps, wondering what I’m supposed to be paying attention to, and then all of a sudden, there I am.”

“I was just baffled and mortified,” Rice said. “You were constantly making sure everything was okay, so why stop here?”

Rice said that disregarding her consent made her feel powerless.

“My sexuality is something that I can choose to share with anybody that I want to, but when they broadcast it on the internet, that’s something I don’t want to do,” Rice said.

Rice also said a combination of fear and public shame led her to not take any action or alert authorities.

“I’m just kind of a timid person when it comes to things like authority,” Rice said “It’s really hard not to be embarrassed about how we got here, how this situation even came to pass. It’s not something that I want to talk about over and over to cops and my parents. I think it’s an issue a lot of victims can face.”

Even if Rice did pursue legal action, her options would have been (and still are) limited. Law experts say some victims of non consensual pornography can rely on legislation like anti-cyberbullying laws. 

"There are cyber harassment laws that are often triggered by revenge porn,” Dean of MU School of Law Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky said. “There are laws, like extortion laws, that are sometimes triggered by revenge porn.”

“I don’t think people understand how common it is to share intimate photos, especially with younger people,” Lidsky said.

Several studies show how common sharing explicit photos is, specifically non-consensual. A study released last month by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative shows that 12.8% of participants reported having had a sexually-explicit image of themselves shared without their consent or have been threatened with such actions.

A report by the Data and Society Research Institute and the Center for Innovation Public Health showed that about 10.4 million Americans were threatened or victimized by revenge porn in 2016.

Barnett says a lack of specific legislation against non consensual distribution of sexually-explicit images limits the actions a victim can take.

“Sometimes the conduct can be hard to get at with existing laws,” Barnett said. "If it’s a one time thing instead of a pattern of behavior, it’s much harder to show that it’s cyber harassment. So something specifically targeted at putting up non consensual pornographic photos on the Internet is a worthwhile endeavor.”

Some state legislators, such as Rep. Jim Neely, agree. He sponsored House Bill 705, which “creates the offense of non consensual dissemination of private sexual images.” The bill was first introduced this past January and is currently pending.

Other states have already gotten a head start. 34 states and the District of Columbia already have laws in place that specifically protect against victims revenge porn.

Rice said she hopes Missouri follows in the footsteps of states that have passed laws protecting other victims.

“It’s not okay to, I don’t know, take control of someone’s sexuality like that,” Rice said. “I absolutely think that it should be illegal.”

Barnett also said that a lack of specific laws should not deter victims of revenge porn from alerting authorities. She said that victims should contact their local police department immediately after any incidents and seek legal advice.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Tesla won an ongoing battle over its dealer licenses in Missouri. This week, the Missouri Court of Appeals,... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 7:01:00 PM UTC December 08, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA – Space heaters are one of the leading causes of fire in the country, according to CFD Assistant Fire... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 6:57:00 PM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Just one day after staging a protest outside Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer's (R-MO) office, Empower Missouri met at... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 5:44:00 PM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A suspected carjacker who hit a family's vehicle last spring, killing a 9-year-old boy, is now... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 5:44:00 PM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Restaurants that deliver are taking a hard look at driver safety after two recent robberies. "Whenever there's... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 5:44:00 PM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities are investigating a double homicide outside a Kansas City business. The Kansas City... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 4:31:07 PM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - People who take the bus in Jefferson City may soon have more options as they ride. ... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 3:52:00 PM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The first phase of a port feasibility study was presented to Cole and Callaway commissioners along with... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 2:37:00 PM UTC December 08, 2017 in Top Stories
(CNN) - After a slow start in October, flu season in the United States is gaining speed, particularly in the... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 12:15:00 PM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A southern Missouri woman has pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton items to customers throughout the... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 11:53:00 AM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS - The University of Missouri Board of Curators discussed the administrative review report presented by the UM System... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 11:21:00 AM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Another tall apartment tower is planned for the area near Busch Stadium in St. Louis. ... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 11:03:51 AM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A man accused of killing a St. Louis County police officer in 2016 will not face the... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 10:54:00 AM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City man is charged with accidentally wounding a 15-year-old girl while attempting to rob... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 10:21:40 AM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A letter from the Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney gives new insight into the state of mind behind a... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 10:12:00 AM UTC December 08, 2017 in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man has been acquitted of fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. The... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 8:38:00 AM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Thursday's concerning social media post involved a Hickman High School student holding a gun and making a terroristic... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 8:15:00 AM UTC December 08, 2017 in Top Stories
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities are investigating a double homicide outside a Kansas City business. The Kansas City... More >>
3 days ago Friday, December 08 2017 Dec 8, 2017 Friday, December 08, 2017 7:29:38 AM UTC December 08, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 54°
4pm 52°
5pm 49°
6pm 46°
7pm 45°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

3:00p
Dr. Phil
4:00p
Jeopardy!
4:30p
Jeopardy!
3:00p
The Robert Irvine Show
4:00p
The Goldbergs
4:30p
The Goldbergs

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
9:01p
Better Late Than Never
7:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
8:00p
Valor
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld