Revenge porn: Never-ending cycle of pain

The ordeal she experienced began in March when an unknown person messaged Tamura (pseudonym). Without warning, an unidentified individual reached out to her, claiming that a video featuring a nude woman on the internet resembled her.

While searching the web, she was horrified and anxious to discover explicit videos of herself on a pornographic website, which she had been fearing. Her heart sank.

Tamura immediately recognized the source of the images – a former partner with whom she had ended the relationship.

Her journal expresses the terror she experienced.

It truly appears, doesn’t it? My heart won’t cease pounding, and my hands continue to tremble. Even though it’s a warm day, I still feel cold.

Tamura (not her real name) found an explicit video of herself on a pornography site, shared by her ex-boyfriend.

The movies that should have been removed

About four years ago, when she moved to Tokyo for a new job, Tamura first encountered him. Although they started hanging out and he seemed reliable, she was not interested in pursuing a physical relationship that he soon started pressuring her for. Additionally, the man had a vast social circle.

He ultimately gained control over their sexual relationship, as she says she was worn down by his constant advances.

It didn’t take long before she realized that he was recording videos of her during intimate moments.

He insisted, but I said, ‘No.’ Instead of a pornographic movie, he expressed his desire for my video. I felt pleased that I had become so dependent on him.

Tamura made the decision to terminate the oppressive partnership when the man aggressively kicked her, resulting in significant bruising.

When she met him last time, she made sure to delete all the images he had taken of sex.

She states, “I inquired from him if he had eradicated all of the videos. I even had him eliminate them in my presence, and verified that his ‘deleted item’ folder was emptied as well.”

However, he had covertly preserved duplicates of the pictures in another location.

‘Endlessly raped’

Her ex-boyfriend and another man, who edited and uploaded the content, were apprehended and accused of violating the revenge pornography legislation. Approximately one month later, a prompt investigation was initiated, and Tamura promptly reported the online presence of the videos to the authorities.

However, Tamura claims that the horrifying experience had only just started.

The videos had been watched on various websites more than a million times. Users who saved them shared or reposted an infinite number of copies on other sites. A site where the videos were sold allowed the download of pornography.

The remarks intensified the pain.

In the videos, individuals appeared to be thrilled to discover the identity of the person. Tamura even shared a personal picture of an individual on her social media profile.

She stopped going to work. Even someone sent her a link for the videos at her office and they managed to figure out where Tamura worked soon. They started sharing more details about her and finding people to compete with, and the abusive comments escalated.

Tamura expresses, “I experienced a perpetual sense of violation from an unidentified individual.” “They behaved as if I were their former partner, engaging in conversations about my physicality and existence after viewing the recordings.”

There were countless anonymous users who copied and shared Tamura’s leaked sex images.

Tamura says the experience left her devastated. She spent months in bed crying, broke out in hives, and couldn’t eat or sleep.

Two months afterwards, she was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

She resigned from her job, severed all of her connections, and even contemplated self-harm.

As I pondered upon this, the idea of death became undesirable to me. I was aware that my videos would attract a larger audience and provide amusement to people on the internet. However, if I were to end my own life, I wished for it to remain unknown and vanish silently.

The videos got deleted from the websites she reached out to, and she sought advice from attorneys and a support community. Tamura began checking adult websites daily to check if any of her videos had been shared.

Privacy sold in pieces

The former boyfriend was discovered by the police to have sold the recordings of her for 150,000 yen (approximately 1,100 dollars) to the individual who edited them. The individual subsequently sold the snippets to adult websites for around 10,000 yen each (approximately 75 dollars).

The prosecutors presented evidence from a single smartphone that indicated the culprit was worried about the inquiry.

The authorities do not possess the jurisdiction to compel a website owner located abroad to divulge a user’s information as this is not typically the standard procedure. The apprehension of the two individuals became feasible solely due to the cooperation of the administrator of a US website who disclosed the perpetrator’s IP address and additional details to law enforcement.

She wanted to hear some of these words from them. Due to her condition, she was unable to read it in court, but Tamura prepared a 10-page statement and brought two to trial.

The judge, for the very first time, mentioned that he considered the circumstance that the two individuals were being tried. The judge imposed two-year prison terms on both defendants, which were then suspended for a duration of four years. Both of the accused individuals confessed to the allegations.

NHK reached out to the individuals via their legal representatives, but they refused to respond to any of our inquiries.

Government discussions underway

In Japan, the National Police Agency received an unprecedented number of 1,628 inquiries concerning revenge pornography last year. The occurrences are increasing.

Tamura is closely involved in discussing the following. Some revisions to sex crime laws, which could make it harder to share pornographic revenge, are now being debated by an advisory body to the Minister of Justice.

Junko Nakayama, a specialist in legislation concerning sexual offenses, asserts that any modifications to existing laws would be subject to certain constraints.

She states,” the board intends to establish a lawful structure that enables authorities to seize and erase sexual materials they discover during their inquiries. “The conversation additionally encompasses potential legal actions to forbid the act of capturing explicit photographs without the individual’s agreement.”

However, Nakayama concedes that the discussion on how to prevent continuous online abuse towards victims may not immediately result in legal changes. Ultimately, the issue of banning the re-editing or copying of images remains unresolved, but she continues to address it.

Japan’s law can sentence revenge porn offenders to a maximum of three years in prison. Lawyer Nakayama Junko says there are limits to what the current law can do.

Similar to the two culprits, she desires stricter punishments for individuals who attempt to gain profit. Tamura is of the opinion that the legislation should also consider it an offense to duplicate illicit videos.

However, at the moment, she is attempting to rebuild her life.

She says, “I would only seek revenge on the offenders. I would happily go to a faraway country where I could live and forget about it.” And I want to let go of my sadness and anger. I want to forgive the offenders and forget about the incident.

Click here for the Japanese edition: https://www.Nhk.Or.Jp/gendai/comment/0026/topic060.Html.