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Lira Galore and the war against revenge porn.

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This month, physician a very private and intimate video of 23 year old model, pharmacy Lira Galore, was leaked to the unforgiving eyes of the internet. In the unauthorised video, Lira Mercer appears to engage in consensual intimacy with her then boyfriend which was then exposed by a blogger.

Lira’s kick-ass response?

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Despite making some head way to accepting that women can liberate themselves in any way they so please, the reaction from some shows that we still have a far way to go. The female body and the freedom to express yourself sexually are not aspects any woman should be apologetic for.

As Lira rightly tweeted; “ Y’all never seen somebody suck d*ck before?!”  

What’s even more concerning is the utter failure to appreciate that a young woman’s privacy was violated. Her womanhood and self-respect was attacked and questioned over an intimate, consensual and very normal moment. A scrutiny that seems to only be afforded to women.  Lucky us! (It’s not like there were two people in the video or anything.) Post Rick Ross, the internet clearly thinks Lira has taken a liking to dating ghosts.

Woman, man, animal or alien; revenge porn is not justifiable and we have seen this committed by ex-lovers, best friends (like myself), hackers and even work colleagues.

Leaking of nudes and sex tapes, also known as ‘revenge porn’, is a malicious trend that aims to humiliate and intimidate the victim through the uploading of sexually explicit material. A trend that we have seen increase over the last decade, with the growth of social media. It can be tempting to detach ourselves from the damaging consequences of this crime and share content to feed our gossip hunger; but this is wrong. Always has been and always will be.

The law agrees too as Miss Mercer wasted no time in demonstrating when she took legal action against the parties involved.

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There has been a crackdown in revenge porn with over 200 people being prosecuted last year in the UK and sentences as long as three years being handed out in the United States. As well as publication of intimate photos or videos, revenge porn can also fall under harassment, blackmail, voyeurism and malicious communication; all criminal offences with heavy punishments.

You do not have to remain silent.

What to do if you are a victim of revenge porn:

  • Collect and keep evidence: Collect as much proof as possible. Screenshot any direct threats of exposure or messages where it is apparent the person has or intends to distribute the images. Keep note of statements or accounts from other people who can state that a particular person or group sent the photo and anything else that may aid authorities in investigating the alleged crime.
  • Request removal:  If the picture has been made public, write an email and/or letter to the outlet requesting for the picture to be removed urgently. (Often social media platforms will delete the associated account as it violates their rules.) If this has been circulated to people, contact them and explain that you intend to take legal action. (Revenge porn covers any unwanted sharing, including sending the material to the person’s friends, on Snapchat, WhatsApp or private messages)
  • File a police report: In your report, detail how the picture or video was obtained, attach your evidence and state the potential effects this may be having on you, your job or your family. You can file this under a criminal offence and/or a civil offence.
  • Stay strong, stay positive and understand you have done nothing wrong: This is not something to be embarrassed about. You are a victim. If at any point you need to talk to someone, reach out to friends, family or trusted organisations like The Samaritans.

If you need any professional advice or to speak to someone, the following helplines are free and will support you.

If you need any help drafting a removal email, general advice or to speak to someone who has gone through the above, my DMS are always open and welcoming (@Monrowe)

Finally, you do not need to live in fear of consequences for sending private photos.  If this is the way in which you choose to express yourself, as Lira Galore did with her partner, you are entitled to do so. You are beautiful, respected and the law is on your side.

Written by Monique Monrowe (former revenge porn victim)

 

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Monique Monrowe

Monique Monrowe is a London based food/ lifestyle blogger and entrepreneur, who grew up in Jamaica. When she's not writing or thinking of a master plan, Monique spends her time cooking, travelling and project managing. You can keep up with Monique on social media: @monrowe and @thefooddoll

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