Israel: Revenge Porn Now Illegal, Treated As Sex Crime

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Israel made a huge pro-women move when it decided to fund all abortions for women between the ages of 20 and 33, and it didn't stop its progressive streak there. Now, Israel has become the first country in the world to make revenge porn illegal. From now onwards, anyone found guilty of uploading sexually explicit content online without the consent or knowledge of the person being portrayed can expect to be designated as a sex offender, and may be punished up to five years in jail. 

You heard that right: Revenge porn is now a sex crime in Israel, and its victims will now be legally recognized as victims of sexual assault. 

While Israel isn't the only country to have made headway towards stopping revenge porn — Brazil introduced a bill in October to ban revenge porn after 17-year-old Brazilian Julia Rebecca committed suicide after she discovered a video online of herself having sex — America is painfully behind on passing comprehensive legislation. Though the revenge-porn debate properly kicked off last year, only two states have passed legislation in a move to stop it: New Jersey and California. 

Meaning there's 48 more states to go before the country's Hunter Moores can see punishment. And even those two states don't do much: While New Jersey does consider distributing a person's nude images without their consent a felony, a law that came out of Tyler Clementi's suicide, California's laws may not be strong enough. 

As Emily Bazelon wrote in Slate

It makes it a misdemeanor offense to post revenge porn only if a prosecutor shows that the poster intended to inflict emotional distress, rather than treating the act of posting a sexual photo without consent as an objectively harmful invasion of privacy. And the punishment wouldn’t apply if the subject of the photo took the picture herself, which means it wouldn’t help people whose exes persuaded them to hand over photos as a sign of trust.

On top of that, civil-liberties groups have argued that revenge porn laws may violate freedom of speech. Though, we have to ask: when did using sexually explicit content to harass someone became freedom of speech?

Israel's Yifat Kariv, who introduced the successful bill, told Haaretz of its passing:

It is clear to us that the pace of legislation always lags behind the technical and virtual reality in which we live. This is a law that is a breakthrough both from the legislative standpoint and also from the normative and ethical standpoint. This is a great achievement for the victims of sex crimes.

C'mon, America. Get on it.

Image: Getty 

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