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revenge porn Victim who had intimate images shared without consent backs new Government campaign

Ms Ryan called on anyone who becomes a victim of revenge porn to report it

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Alexandra Ryan. Picture: PA

Alexandra Ryan. Picture: PA

Alexandra Ryan. Picture: PA

A victim of image-based abuse has said she is lucky to be alive, as she gave her backing to a new Government campaign that will try to tackle the sharing of sexual and intimate images without consent.

Alexandra Ryan, a journalist and publisher, on Thursday shared her story of how several years ago ago a man she was in an intimate relationship with secretly recorded a video of them together.

The video was later shared by someone else without Ms Ryan's consent.

Ms Ryan called on anyone who becomes a victim of revenge porn to report it.

"It is difficult to stand up here and say the words: 'I am a victim',” Ms Ryan said.

"But this is the reality I have had to face for six years because someone I trusted made an intimate video of me without my consent.

"For six long years, this video was used against me.

"I was blackmailed, I was intimidated and I was harassed online and in person."

"I couldn't even tell people what happened to me.

"Waking up every morning worrying that this was going to be the day my tape was going to go viral.

"Thinking today is going to be the day another stranger is going to come up to me to say they heard about my sex tape.

"Thinking today is the day I would to take my own life because I couldn't bear to live with it anymore.”

"I'm one of the lucky ones, because I'm still alive," she added.

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The Department of Justice on Thursday launched a new ad campaign that will be shown on video-on-demand services, YouTube and other social media platforms.

The new ad warns viewers: "Whatever your motivation, sharing intimate images without consent is a crime."

It also announced that images and video can be reported and reported to the Hotline.ie website.

The website, which was launched in 1999, has traditionally dealt with illegal content online, including images and video of child sexual abuse.

The remit will now be expanded to include images that have been shared without consent.

Earlier this year, Ireland criminalised the sharing of intimate images without consent, anyone found guilty could face up to seven years in prison.

Minister Hildegarde Naughton said on Thursday that the sharing of intimate images "can and has ruined lives".

"We need to change our attitudes to this form of sexual abuse," she said.

She said it was the Government's "priority" to improve the justice system for victims.

She said that the Government was working with social media companies to crack down on this kind of content and also said that the online safety commissioner, set to be introduced as part of the Government's Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill, would also play a role in reporting any images shared without consent.

"There are simply no excuses for sharing intimate images without consent," Ms Naughton said.

"We must stop excusing all forms of sexual violence and abuse."

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