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COVID-19 HAPPENED, AND NON-CONSENSUAL PORNOGRAPHY INCREASED

By Yvette Romero

Although 2020 was an isolated year for many due to unemployment, quarantine, and an unexpected woeful wave of deaths. One unfortunate already big internet phenomenon flourished to an even bigger degree: non-consensual pornography.

 Due to many government ordinances around the world people could not gather in massive amounts of crowds at just any given time like before. While real life communication was cut-off, the internet did not stop for anyone, not even pandemic, in this case COVID-19.

According to the University of Zurich, data collected within U.S adults between April 4 and April 8 of last year, social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest (and many more), increased their communication by 35% more than the already 56% rate that existed.

At a time of boredom, loneliness, and vulnerability online predators/abusers ranging from strangers to known individuals took advantage of many to their selfish benefit.

Georgie a 27-year-old woman from Berkshire, England, a municipal located right outside London, works in marketing and acting.

During the height of COVID-19 of May last year, Georgie was notified that a certain set of images were being shared. After reviewing the content, she concluded that the intimate images had been circulating via an ex-partner who had been distributing them, because of “boredom.”

She never once thought that the possibility of this occurring would ever come true and has no idea since when it’s been developing.

“I reported it to the police in May of last year. There was a drawn-out investigation that was concluded this past December. Basically, the legislation available didn’t fit the circumstances. I was actually flabbergasted. I was totally shocked. The admission of guilt wasn’t enough to get a conviction and that meant the person responsible was getting out without any kind of reprimands, which meant he could do this again,” said Georgie.

She further explains that the thought of so many people who might be going through the same pain of choosing to stand up for themselves only to experience getting no justice at all is abominable.

There had been a difficult internal dilemma that led her to overthinking when it came to vocalizing her story.

Georgie said, “I had to spend a long time thinking about sharing my video public. I spent over six months in total really thinking about doing it. I made the video two months before it was shared. I got some people close to me to look over it on my behalf, and I tried to make sure that I was doing what I wanted to do, for the right reasons. So, then eventually having spent all that time, I was then sure that this was something that would be powerful, for my own recovery also to try to spread awareness.”

Using social media platforms like Facebook and Tik Tok, Georgie has been able to inform her truth. Her Facebook page goes by the name “Petition to Amend Intimate Image Abuse Legislation,” while her Tik Tok profile name is @End.Intimate. Image. Abuse.

A victim, who identifies as a woman, and is 20 years old choose not to disclose her name due to worries that her harasser may officially enact his constant threats against her.

In this article she will be referred as ‘anonymous.’

‘Anonymous’ back in April of 2020, started getting text messages from a person who she had stopped talking to, and to her surprise the messages were anything but inviting.

The male perpetrator was demanding sex, by blackmailing her with her nude photographs.

Confused and disgusted ‘Anonymous’ said she had no idea what to do.

“I was scared, just the fact that he might use them against me. Just him trying to expose me” said ‘Anonymous.’

She mentions that her situation went unreported and decided that best way to handle the situation was by letting it dial down.

“The person had reached out multiple times. I didn’t block them either, because I’m afraid they might have them and use them. I act like they are not there.”

After multiple attempts to reason with the male harasser when the incident unfolded, ‘Anonymous’ felt that she was walking on eggshell. Constantly being nice, afraid that any wrong word might get her in trouble, but he instead passive aggressively reinstated that pictures were his “property.”

Jamie, a 20-year-old male who was a victim of a romance scam, recalls his circumstances.

“I was going through a bad breakup. I was trying to find a way to boost my self-esteem, I was already pretty low at that point. At the time I wasn’t thinking it was out of desperation. I got into these online chatrooms. One thing led to another, I thought I was presumably speaking to a woman. Exchanging pictures for sexual content,” said Jamie.

Jamie goes into detail how the website he was utilizing had the option to link up his Facebook account which he did, meaning that the person who he was talking to could look him up with his first and last name. Apparently, the woman was not real. This scammer managed to find him on Facebook and filtered out his friend list to family members only who carried his last name.

They went on to threaten Jamie to expose him to his aunt and cousin, unless he gave them money. In sheer of panic, Jamie contacts an old high school teacher for advice. Reported the incident to authorities, was advised to delete his Facebook, block the scammer, and “hope for the best.”





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