Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

'Revenge porn' victim devotes life fighting to change nation's laws

Posted by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 1:46 PM
  • 49 Replies

When Holly Jacobs sent nude photographs of herself to a long-distance boyfriend she loved and trusted, the 22-year-old woman never imagined the horror that would befall her.

In August 2009, less than a year after the pair mutually ended their three-year relationship, Jacobs did a Google search of her name and discovered the naked photos on a so-called "revenge porn" website.

"I just went completely into shock," said Jacobs, who hired a lawyer and eventually changed her birth name from "Holli Thometz" to Holly Jacobs.

"This is cyber-rape," Jacobs, now 30, told FoxNews.com. "It's all about the guy having control over the woman and exploiting her in a sexual way -- the same way real-life rape does that. It violates you over and over again."

What came next was perhaps more shocking to Jacobs. Police in Miami, where she lived at the time, took no action. They told her that "because you are over 18 and you consented, technically they are his property and he can do whatever he wants with them," she recalled.

Jacobs, a 2005 graduate of Boston College who managed to earn a Ph.D during her ordeal, channeled her pain into advocacy for women similarly victimized by ex-boyfriends, who -- without their knowledge or consent -- posted photos meant to be private in the most public and humiliating way. Jacobs created the website "End Revenge Porn" and formed the group Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), under which she serves as CEO and executive director.

With the advancement of technology, millions of people -- mostly teens and young adults -- turn to "sexting" pornographic or inappropriate photos to their boyfriends or girlfriends, with little or no foresight into what may one day become of them.

"At this time, 49 states do little or nothing to stop malicious individuals from endangering lives and reputations by distributing sexually graphic pictures of people without their consent," said Mary Anne Franks, a professor at University of Miami School of Law. "Both state and federal criminal laws are needed to prevent and address this form of sexual abuse."

For Jacobs, the initial discovery of nude photos on a website called "AmIHotOrNotNude.com" was only the beginning of her nightmare.

The young woman hired a lawyer, who wrote a letter to Jacobs' ex-boyfriend, Tampa resident Ryan Seay, to "just kind of scare him." The photos immediately came down, Jacobs said.

In November 2011, Jacobs began dating someone new, and posted a picture of the two on her Facebook page. Hours later, she was bombarded by emails from strangers saying, "There are pictures of you all over 'revenge porn' websites."

"My material went viral within three days. It was on over 200 websites, with my full name, my e-mail address, the school I attended, and a link to where I worked," said Jacobs, who at the time was a teaching assistant at Florida International University.  

And then a chilling e-mail arrived in her inbox from a fake Yahoo e-mail address that was created using her name. The writer told her to "get in touch concerning your photos" and warned her that a "nice video" was awaiting distribution, she recalled.

"Have your boss and co-worker seen it?" the taunting e-mail read.

The sender wrote that if Jacobs did not respond by a certain time, he would upload the video, titled, "“Masturbation 201 by Professor Holli Thometz." And he did, she said.

According to Jacobs, the video was an old Skype interaction between her and Seay, which was recorded without her knowledge.

In April 2013, Jacobs filed a civil lawsuit against Seay as well as websites and servers that posted the photos and personal information. The lawsuit claims that Seay and the other defendants violated her privacy by posting such photos and information without her consent. The complaint also seeks a court order prohibiting additional publication by the defendant, and to retrieve or destroy all the photos in Seay's possession, Jacobs' Miami-based attorney, Patrick McGeehan, told FoxNews.com.

Seay, 28, could not be reached for comment. He has reportedly claimed someone hacked into his computer and stole the photos from him. In an e-mail to FoxNews.com, his attorney, Charle Arline, denied any wrongdoing by his client.

"At this time I can only relate that my client is eager to answer these charges and defend himself in the proper forum, i.e. the court system," Arline wrote. "He adamantly disputes the allegations and is in no remote way affiliated with any type of revenge porn and has previously extended his support to Ms. Thometz or Ms Jacobs efforts."

.....

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/09/12/florida-woman-victimized-by-nude-photos-fights-against-cyber-rape/#ixzz2enMxGGNv


I agree with the police it is his property because he took the pictures and she consented. The other parts of stalking and such could happen to anyone who has any pictures on their computer, as any hacker could get them. I do not agree it is cyber-rape and I really wish people would quit coming up with creative ways of using the word rape outside of the legal definition in their state. Not only does it demean rape but it is also demeaning the crimes of cyber stalking, bullying and harassment to need to use such a word in context with what would be charged as one of those. 


by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 1:46 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
pamelax3
by Gold Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 1:57 PM
1 mom liked this

IMO the young woman should have never sent those pictures, if you do not want them distributed then do not take them. Now with that said, the rest of the crap this creep is doing is harassment and he should answer in a court of law. In this case it is the ex that is sending them out, however if some one losses their phone any one who picks it up has access to these pictures and can distribute them, always be cautious you never know whose hands pictures like this could fall into

parentalrights1
by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 3:36 PM
4 moms liked this
I think you should have permission from photo subjects to distribute publicly

Noone can post my selfish or photos of kids all over their Facebook page without my consent. I can and have had them removed, but when a woman is enjoying a sexual activity people love to punish the slut
parentalrights1
by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 3:38 PM
3 moms liked this
And yes I get where she calls it rape. If people don't like the word rape then at the very least it is sexual abuse because it is a man using patriarchy and sex to Hurt and abuse a woman and it should be criminal.
tanyainmizzou
by Platinum Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM
1 mom liked this

I don't agree with establishing revenge porn laws.

Wicked.Jester
by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Cliff notes, need cliff notes.

KimmyShaw
by Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 3:45 PM

For the most part I agree with you OP. 

 What he did was morally wrong but nothing else since but she sent them to him. I am on the fence about the video though, if she didn't know he was taping her then there are laws against that right?

And the rape comments gets me too...NOT the same.

 

jaxTheMomm
by Platinum Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM
2 moms liked this

I think it's time for a new law.  Before you can upload a sexually explicit or nude photograph/video of someone other than yourself, you need to have a signed release form giving permission for you to do so, dated within 30 days of the upload unless you are employed by a maker of pornography.

My hat's off to her.

lga1965
by Ruby Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 4:25 PM
1 mom liked this

 She must have been a very naive airhead .....for many reasons.

Nude pictures ?no way.

Sending nude pictures to a boyfriend ??  NO NO NO NO.

It's HER fault. Change what laws?LOL.

I have no sympathy for her.

stormcris
by Christy on Sep. 13, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Those were pictures you took? 

Quoting parentalrights1:

I think you should have permission from photo subjects to distribute publicly

Noone can post my selfish or photos of kids all over their Facebook page without my consent. I can and have had them removed, but when a woman is enjoying a sexual activity people love to punish the slut


.OceanBlue.
by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 4:59 PM

She was pretty stupid to send him nude photos. Everyone knows that's not smart these days. I really don't have any sympathy for her. People can change laws all they want, but stupid will never be fixed.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)



Featured