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California considers revenge porn to be domestic violence

When you hear or read the words "domestic violence," it probably conjures up images of bruises, bloody noses and broken bones. You probably don't picture an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend trying to post naked photos of the victim online or sell a piece of "revenge porn" in order to harass and humiliate the victim.

Unfortunately for actress Mischa Barton, that's exactly the route an ex-boyfriend tried to go. The actress learned that intimate videos he'd taken without her consent while using a hidden camera were being peddled around some internet porn sites for the hefty asking price of $500,000. It's hard to say if his motives were strictly about harassing and humiliating the actress -- there may have been a certain amount of pure greed mixed in there as well.

However, because the couple dated in the past, California law considers revenge porn to be a form of ongoing domestic violence. The California Domestic Violence Prevention Act also considers sexual abuse, stalking, threats, harassment, psychological and emotional abuse to all fall under the same umbrella of domestic violence.

As such, the actress was able to qualify for a restraining order that not only prevents her ex-boyfriend from selling or releasing the video but contains a provision that will also punish anyone who buys or distributes the video. That's an important extra protection for a victim of revenge porn. He or she can start to regain control of his or her own life without the fear of ongoing humiliation.

One attorney who deals extensively with revenge porn cases says that these types of attempts at abuse are becoming increasingly common. Abusers will often use the threat of public humiliation and exposure through the videos or pictures to continue to try to control their victims. They may even hold a victim hostage in the relationship by threatening to send nude photos of the victim to his or her friends, neighbors, relatives and employers.

If you've become the victim of domestic violence through someone's attempt at revenge porn, don't hesitate to contact an attorney for assistance. He or she can help you get the protection order and prepare to take the would-be entrepreneur to court for civil remedies if necessary. You may be able to get compensation for the exposure that you've already faced and your legal expenses as well.

Source: Page Six, "Mischa Barton gets restraining order against 'revenge porn' ex," Emily Smith, March 15, 2017

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