Revenge Porn: What to Do? 

Plus, does anyone actually use niche-dating sites like GlutenFreeSingles.com?

A friend of mine had a nasty breakup recently, and her ex has started threatening to make an album of her naked photos and sell them online. First of all, what the hell?! Is this even a thing? What can she do about it, call the police?

Pissed Off Friend

Revenge porn, which is the nonconsensual distribution of explicit photos and videos, is definitely a thing — a horrible, unfortunate, abusive thing — and I'm so sorry your friend has to deal with this. People can sell anything online — a dried peach that looks like a vagina, toast burned in the shape of the Virgin Mary, and one woman auctioned her virginity on eBay for $10,000 — but there are resources available to your friend to help her protect herself if her ex's threats become a reality.

First of all, POF, your friend can call the revenge porn crisis hotline (844-878-CCRI), started by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. There, she can get guidance, advice, and support for her specific situation. CCRI has been integral in providing pro bono legal assistance to victims and helping to draft revenge porn legislation in nineteen states, DC, and for the federal government.

Second, California does have a law against revenge porn, and just recently, for the first time, the state prosecuted a man for operating a revenge porn website. The operator, Kevin Bollaert, ran a site called UGotPosted, which is no longer active, and which allowed people to anonymously post nonconsensual nude photos, along with the victim's name, location, Facebook profile, and other identifying details. Bollaert was found guilty on 21 counts of identity theft and six counts of extortion.

"Just because you're sitting behind a computer, committing what is essentially a cowardly and criminal act, you will not be shielded from the law or jail," state Attorney General Kamala Harris said in statement issued after the verdicts.

California's revenge porn law, thankfully, was revised last year to include protections for selfies, aka photos taken by the victims, which account for more than 80 percent of revenge porn cases, and which were previously unprotected under the law. The new version of SB 1255, which you can read in full at LegInfo.Legislature.ca.gov, also no longer requires prosecutors to prove that the poster intentionally wanted to cause emotional harm to the victim, which was a criticism of the original law.

If your friend's ex breaks this law, he will be committing a misdemeanor crime that may land him in jail for "a period of not less than 45 days." This isn't the strongest law, by any means. Illinois classifies revenge porn as a felony, for instance, with monetary punishments of up to $25,000. But it's a start, and the more people speak up about this, the better.

For more information and resources (and to donate), visit CyberCivilRights.org, EndRevengePorn.org, WomenAgainstRevengePorn.com

I have Celiac disease so I don't eat gluten, and my hilarious friend (that's sarcasm) suggested I go on the dating site GlutenFreeSingles.com to find my soulmate. Barring the ridiculousness of that suggestion, do people actually use these sites, or is it just a big joke? Am I being narrow-minded and judgmental?

Skeptical Dater

I too have found myself wondering about niche dating sites, SD, specifically AmishDating.com. I have questions. Like, how are they even allowed to use computers? Isn't that a sin in Amish circles? There are also sites dedicated to mullets (Mullet Passions), farmers (Farmers Only), sea captains (Sea Captain Date), and even clowns (Clown Dating). It's all so laughably specific, and in truth, I think many of these are thinly disguised fetish sites, rather than, say, a true barometer of compatibility. It's possible that some of these sites are helping incredibly picky people find their soulmates (as a former sea captain, let me tell you, it was a sad and lonely world), but mostly I think it's a less stigmatizing way for people to find other people who also like to have sex while dressed as zombies (Zombie Passions). To each their bone, as nobody says.

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