Liberty and justice for all

Selena McPherson/The News

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Selena McPherson/The News

Selena McPherson/The News

Kentucky, Alaska, Florida, Texas, Virginia and 22 other states – one of these things is not like the other.

According to End Revenge Porn, 26 states have revenge porn laws, and Kentucky is not among them. As close to home as this hits for us, it hits home for unprotected residents of 23 other states as well.

About half the states in this grand country of ours have no solid, well-defined laws for victims of the crime that is revenge porn – emphasis on the fact that it is, truly, a crime. It’s not only time for that to change – we’re sorely past due.

Thankfully, Kentucky is making valiant efforts to move us in the right direction.

According to a news article published by WLWT on Feb. 15, House Bill 110, otherwise known as The Revenge Porn Bill, passed in the Kentucky House by a unanimous vote of 92-0 and will now move to the Senate for consideration.

This bill, according to the Courier Journal, would establish misdemeanor charges for those who intend to harm someone by distributing “sexually explicit images” without consent, along with felony charges if such images are used in the pursuit of financial gain.

Another bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Bowen, is in the works and would increase the severity of charges against those who distribute their own nude photos and/or nude photos of minors.

Actions like these are imperative in a time where digital photography, cell phones and social media are not only increasing in popularity, but are becoming weaponized.

Revenge porn is undoubtedly a form of sexual assault – it may not be physical, but it offends and scars in irreparable ways. And, like other forms of sexual abuse and related crimes, victims often don’t come forward because they don’t feel fully protected by the law.

Also, in some cases, it’s one of the most personal crimes there is, leaving victims emotionally distressed, socially and occupationally impaired and, in some cases, suicidal.

Revenge porn, in essence, is one of the more brutal betrayals of trust. Whether you’re in a committed relationship or you’re trying to please someone in a casual setting, there’s a certain implied level of trust that indicates a sexually explicit or nude photo will be for the recipient’s eyes and pleasure only.

However, in a world of digitalized, fast-paced romance that constantly treads a fine line of intimacy and virality, nobody is safe.

This isn’t a matter of victim-blaming or, “He/she asked for it.” – it’s a matter of considering every outcome. The ugly truth is this: the person you trust, love or are simply attracted to may not feel inclined to respect your privacy if things end and they no longer have any allegiance to you.

Actually, the ugly truth isn’t that, it’s this: people can be unbelievably inconsiderate and nobody unconditionally deserves your trust.

When you open your sex life up to cameras, there is an unquestionable risk. In some cases, it is like handing someone a loaded gun and telling them to point it at your head, but not to shoot.

Chances are they wont shoot, but why give them the weapon in the first place? And if you do give them that weapon, you have to be sure their intentions aren’t devious now and won’t be in the future.

But, in the end, it shouldn’t be completely up to us to protect ourselves.

Soon, hopefully, there will be laws in place that will ensure liberty for victims and for criminals who have violated their privacy to be brought to justice.