You may have heard about revenge porn before or you may even have been a victim of this nasty form of revenge. But are you a perpetrator of revenge porn? We’ve broken down what happens to the perpetrators of revenge porn based on cases that have already made their way through legal systems.

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What Is Revenge Porn?

To understand what could happen to you if you are a perpetrator of revenge porn, you will need to understand what it is.

Although there is no hard and fast definition, RP can be described as the act of posting sexually explicit images or videos of someone online, without the person’s consent. It doesn’t necessary have to be from a previous lover, but most cases are from exes seeking revenge on a previous partner. Even though it is called “revenge porn“, it isn’t porn in the usual sense of the word. The intention for posting these images or videos online is to hurt or get revenge on the person in the image or video. What makes this such a successful form of revenge is based on the fact that it is near impossible to remove something once it has been posted online.

The Legal Stance

Currently there are no laws in South Africa that deal specifically with RP, but a perpetrator can be sued for posting these images based on the laws of defamation, i.e. the damage caused to a person’s reputation or dignity. A perpetrator can also be convicted under general criminal law which makes it a crime to infringe a person’s privacy or dignity. It can also be argued that a person has infringed upon your copyright if you took the photo or video yourself (selfie).

Last year Israel became the first country to pass legislation that makes RP a sex crime and a perpetrator can be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison.

Certain States in the US has enacted laws dealing specifically with RP, with New Jersey being the first State to have enacted such a specific law. The New Jersey law dealing with RP was enacted after an American university student posted a video online of his roommate engaging in private sexual activity, which lead to the victim committing suicide.

In February 2015 the UK and Wales enacted an amendment to its Criminal Justice and Courts Act, which specifically deal with RP and perpetrators can face up to 2 years imprisonment if found guilty.

Japan, Canada and Brazil all have different laws dealing with RP and the legal consequences a perpetrator could face.

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The Perpetrators

Australian, Ravsha “Ronnie” Usmansov was the first perpetrator to be convicted for uploading photos of his naked ex on Facebook. Usmansov admitted that he uploaded these images as a form of revenge and that it was the only way he felt he could hurt his ex for dumping him. In the end an Australian magistrate convicted Usmansov to 6 months in prison, with the magistrate stating that:

Incalculable damage can be done to a person’s reputation by the irresponsible posting of information through such a medium

Recently a 17-year-old South African girl attacked her 25-year-old ex, Humprey Khoza by pouring battery acid over his penis. The incident happened after Khoza had allegedly filmed the girl in a sexually explicit setting without her consent and had then posted the video online. This incident of RP led to the perpetrator being left with a broken penis and Khoza can no longer urinate normally and has to use a tube to relieve himself. The damage has also left him impotent.

The most severe case so far recently came from San Diago in the US when Kevin Bollaert was sentence to 18 years in prison for owning and operating UGotPosted.com, a revenge porn website. The site operated from 2012 to 2013 and allowed people to post sexually explicit images and personal information of other people without their consent. The website then charged these victims between $250 and $350 (about R4 000.00) to have the RP pictures and personal information removed from the website. When the site was eventually shut down in 2013 it was hosting over 10 000 RP pictures. In February 2015 Bollaert was sentenced to 18 years in prison and was also order to pay damages in the amount of $15 000 (about R177 675.75) as well as a $10 000 (about R118 450.50) fine. Bollaert was also ordered to pay $385 000 (more than R4 million) in damages to one of the victims who was under age when the sexually explicit images were taken that were uploaded to the site without her consent.

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Revenge Porn KB

And now we come to “the most hated man on the internet” and the so-called “godfather of revenge porn“, Hunter Moore. Moore created and operated a revenge porn website called IsAnyoneUp.com since 2010. By the time it was shut down in 2012 it was hosting thousands of sexually explicit images and videos as well as people’s personal information without their consent. IsAnyoneUp.com didn’t have the option to have the content removed like Bollaert’s website did, and Moore purely operated the website to humiliate and shame victims and has claimed that revenge porn makes him feel godlike and high. Moore was eventually arrested last year and now faces up to 7 years in prison and $500 000 (almost R6 million) in fines after he has pleaded guilty to his charges.

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Even the famous revenge porn perpetrators won’t escape justice. Famous rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) will be facing charges in June 2015 for apparently uploading a sexually explicit video of rapper Rick Ross’s ex-girlfriend and baby-mamma, Lastonia Leviston. After the video was uploaded to YouTube in 2009 and received 3.2 million views, Leviston sued 50 Cent for “emotional distress causing depression and suicidal thoughts” for an undisclosed amount.