Halla Gunnarsdóttir tackles revenge porn at UK Clear Lines Festival

 

In late July 2015, McAllister Olivarius sponsored and participated in the Clear Lines Festival, a four-day event of discussions, art and performance exploring themes around sexual abuse, sexual violence and consent. Our Senior Advisor, Halla Gunnarsdóttir, was invited to speak on revenge pornography and online harassment, addressing ways of taking action against it. Highlights of her speech are now available via Dr Nina Burrowes, the Festival co-founder.

Halla addresses the nature and impact of revenge pornography—a crime that, despite its relative newness, 'is an industry-scale phenomenon now'. 'One out of ten ex-partners has threatened to post intimate images online of their ex,' Halla continues, 'and more than half of them who threaten that—they go ahead and do it. Sixty percent of them go ahead and do that'.

Given the scale of harassment, Halla emphasised that correspondingly the consequences are severe, and mirror the consequences of sexual abuse:  'There have been some survivors who have spoken up about how they felt about it. One of them is Chrissy Chambers who is one of our clients. And she says, "I was depressed, anxious, I was constantly consumed with fear". She suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and she had constant nightmares’.

Below you can hear Halla's call for action, in which she highlights the main ways of tackling this virulent, online abuse—one of which involves 'good law—criminal and civil' which would allow law enforcement to go after website operators, and those who host, share, and post this content. McAllister Olivarius has been calling for a civil remedy in addition to the new criminal law, to make it easier for victims to fight back and to get compensation for the harm they suffer, including against website operators who make money inflicting it. As Halla explains, 'We have to come up with ways to make their "business" less lucrative'.

For further information on revenge porn and main points of action, please have a look at our Action Sheet on Revenge Porn and blog.