This month, after deliberating for only 30 minutes, a jury awarded a woman in Texas $1.2 BILLION in a revenge pornography case against Pornhub, their parent company, MindGeek, and her abuser, Jamal Jackson Marques (Hatfield, 2023; Zitser, 2023). Jackson was accused of monetizing intimate images of the victim through the company’s online platforms. Jackson also posted her images on social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and sent them to her friends, family, and colleagues.

Revenge pornography, also known as nonconsensual porn distribution, is the dissemination of sexually explicit images without the consent of the individual featured. It is often directly related to human trafficking as a coercive tactic.  These sexual abuse images can be distributed through text messages, pornographic websites, and social media (Citron, 2019) 

In 2014, the existence of at least 3,000 revenge pornography specific websites were confirmed (The Economist, 2014). Researchers hypothesize that the number is increasing as a simple revenge pornography search on Google in April of 2016 yielded 2,730,000 results of pornographic images and videos that promoted sexual revenge on women (DeKeseredy, 2016). Additionally, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (2017) reports that 12.5% of all social media users have been targets of revenge porn.

The growth of revenge pornography websites, content, and victims is alarming due to the negative effects it has on victims’ lives. The repercussions of the nonconsensual distribution of a victim’s sexually explicit images vary and range from the victim’s loss of employment to harassment to difficulty pursuing criminal action against their perpetrators (Kelly, 2019, Linkous, 2014). Former California U.S. representative, Katie Hill, was forced to resign from her position after her ex-husband leaked intimate photos of her in the fall of 2019 (Kelly, 2019).

Victims of revenge porn report similar experiences to those who have experienced intimate partner violence. Victims of intimate partner violence have higher rates of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicide compared to those who have not experienced intimate partner violence (Garcia-Moreno, 2013). The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (2014) reported that 93% of revenge pornography victims experienced “significant emotional distress.”  

Victims are not only affected emotionally but can also be in physical danger. Over 50% of victims of nonconsensual porn distribution reported that their names and social media information appeared next to their nude image on the Internet. Personal phone numbers and email addresses were listed next to the images of 20% of those victims (Citron, 2019). 

Legislation must be modified or created to protect others from being victimized in the future. As of April 2023, South Carolina and Massachusetts still do not have laws prohibiting the distribution of nonconsensual pornography (Ballotpedia, 2023).  In 2015, Texas made it a felony to share intimate photos of someone without their consent and was upheld in 2018 (Canizales, 2021). In some states, Human Trafficking can be charged, but current laws are not sufficient for all circumstances. The landmark case that took place this month will encourage more victims of revenge porn to come forward.

To learn more about policies related to sexual victimization, such as revenge pornography, please visit for Street Grace’s training and educational tools.


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