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Online abuse Thousands sign revenge porn petition after widespread sharing of images on internet

It has been reported that a number of the images contained in the folder featured girls under the age of 18.

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Woman crying. Picture posed

Woman crying. Picture posed

Woman crying. Picture posed

ALMOST 26,000 people have signed an online petition that aims to criminalise revenge porn in Ireland.

Revenge porn refers to the revealing of sexually explicit images or videos of a person posted on the internet, and used without the expressed permission of the individual.

It often tends to be the case that the images are posted by a former sexual partner, who has access to the sensitive material.

The motive behind the act is meant to cause the maximum amount of distress or embarrassment to the former partner.

According to the website the act of revenge porn is not a crime in Ireland although this petition, which has gained significant traction online with nearly 26,000 signatures, aims to change this.

The petition reads: "Women in Ireland live in constant fear of having their most private pictures released without consent and even being recorded unknowingly.

"Abusive partners will threaten women to stay with them or they will release their images causing them to stay trapped in abusive relationships."

The petition was launched after a large-scale incident, which saw a number of sexual images of Irish women and girls shared in folders online.

It is believed these images have come from social media sites and apps including Snapchat, Whatsapp and Only Fans.

It has been reported that a number of the images contained in the folder featured girls under the age of 18.

All morning women have been taking to social media to highlight incidents where they felt mistreated or were victims of misogyny in Ireland.

One girl posted: “Literally yesterday after first reading about the revenge-porn discord, I went to walk to college and was cat called and beeped at (walking alone) by a group of construction workers where I live (and again on the way home), this happens all the time.

“It’s not normal or OK.”

While another wrote: “The women of this country continually let down by the state, there’s a litany of health scandals affecting women.”

Today, statements will be heard on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence in the Dáil and a change in the current legislation will be looked at by the Oireachtas Justice Committee next month.

Cliona Sadlier, Executive Director of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, explained that the sharing of explicit images without consent is currently a crime.

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However, they are calling for this legislation to be changed to allow further protection to the victim.

This legislation would allow victims to have their images taken down off sites immediately when they have identified that a crime has been committed against them.

“The key bit that this legislation is trying to put in place is what we call ‘the takedown mechanism’,” Ms Sadlier explained on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland.

“So it would give people the right that if they become aware of their image having been shared in this way that they can demand an immediate takedown and that there is a mechanism in place for that immediate takedown.

“So, essentially your right to intervene when you know a crime has been committed against you.”

When asked if a crime has taken place with the sharing of these images, the Rape Crisis Network director said yes.

“The individual images were possibly taken with the consent of the woman and then have been shared and uploaded and consolidated into large folders and files,” she said.

“These are folders with thousands of images. So, it may well be that each of these images was taken with consent but as soon as these are shared outside they then become an abuse.

“It’s absolutely a form of abuse and consent is the key idea here.

“The minute they are passed on without consent it is now abuse and it is now something that moves into the area of a potential crime that can be investigated and prosecuted.”

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