Why does the law allow abusers to keep abusing their victims? I am a victim and survivor of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse isn’t always physical and I am a proven fact of that, but trying to prove emotional and mental abuse in the court system is not only difficult, it puts the victim in a constant state of anxiety just to try to prove your case. You not only have to build your own case in order for authorities to listen in the first place, you first have to find someone who is willing to take the time to listen.
New York has not yet passed a nonconsensual revenge porn law. No matter what the state senate says about having a revenge porn bill in place, the bill only includes “unlawful surveillance.” What that means in plain terms is that unless a picture of you is taken illegally, meaning without your knowledge, and posted online, posting a naked picture of you is not a crime.
In today’s society, it seems people have more trust in social media than they have in actual relationships. Taking naked selfies and sexy pictures and sending them to your husband, wife, or partner is how people in relationships keep their partners happy and interested. They ask for you to send a picture and because you trust this person, you do. Mostly thinking to yourself if I don’t someone else will. So you send the photo, thinking this is forever. Then bam – a few weeks, months, or years go by. The relationship is over, you either break up or get divorced. Then you find naked photos of you online; they’re accompanied by slanderous and negative content about you. At first it’s unbelievable and you go into a kind of shock, but very soon you go into full panic mode.
The Internet today is way ahead of the laws and because of that, each time the law catches up to certain crimes the Internet has made it harder for people to be held accountable. For example, if you live in New York, and trust your husband of 10 years to send your naked selfies to, great. But then the relationship ends. Your private photos end up on you don’t even know how many different websites. You try but find out you’re unable to get them removed, and you learn that in New York it’s not even a crime that your ex has done this.
Not only is it almost impossible for you to get the images removed on your own, you will most likely have to hire an attorney for a civil case that can cost as much as buying a house, or you can hire online reputation companies that charge $2,000 a post to remove, yet nothing is guaranteed. In today’s world no one has that kind of money, so the longer the websites are active, the more damage is done to an individual’s life. Careers are ruined, relationships are ruined, and your children are being bullied because of this false content online about you.
Why are victims left picking up the pieces and trying to get their lives back in order? And why are the abusers still allowed to just keep posting whenever they feel like it but the victim has to start from the bottom again? In my case, I was in a very abusive relationship with a sociopath. He was a pathological liar, he had pathological jealousy (yes, that is a real thing), he had no conscience and no remorse. Spreading naked photos of me on websites was his way of abusing me more since he couldn’t take the fact that I actually left him for being emotionally abusive and betraying me throughout the entire relationship. It wasn’t easy to leave, there were at least 37 times this man had told me he was leaving me, but that was so he could do what he wanted for a few days and then justify it to himself that we were broken up. It wasn’t until I went through his phone and miraculously had the correct password that I discovered the truth, and was strong enough to throw him out.
Fourteen months after I had thrown him out, his abuse got worse, the harassment became so intense that I would be getting 500 text messages a day – a day! From all different phone numbers. When I finally changed my number the messages then became 500 emails a day. Each time I blocked the address he just created a new one. He was stalking me and knew my every move. I began fearing for mine and for my child’s life.
What I’d discovered on his phone, which made me throw him out, was that he was sending private pics that I had sent to him to his co-workers and to his ex-girlfriend, and the reason for that was to make them envy him. So after being abused for so long and going through the worst time of my life, still fighting every day spending money I didn’t have to save my reputation as a mother, So woman are basically allowed to be treated like a piece of meat and all because they took the picture themselves. But here is the question, if a picture was taken for my husband’s eyes only, and he takes it upon himself to show people who should never even know about them, why is that legal? Why do domestic victims have no rights, why are the abusers permitted to keep abusing? Because current New York laws allow them to. As a result, people like this think they are above the law, and can get away with anything. These people will use it to their advantage to make sure they ruin the victim’s life until the victim, like myself, can’t handle it anymore and kills themselves, which I was very close to doing. That would be the abuser’s greatest victory, however, because after that happens they will turn around and say, “See – I told you she was the crazy one!”