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Revenge Porn: Sharing Nude Online without Consent Will Land You in Jail

I AM A VICTIM!!!!!!!!!!

My name is Mira, a 300 level student in one of the most prestigious university in Nigeria studying communication, whilst also training to be an On air Personality as I wish to become a full time on air personality someday. But waking up this morning, checking my social media account, to find the greatest shock of my life: MY NUDE PICTURE IS EVERYWHERE ONLINE!!!!!!! With my name tagged on it and millions of comments. Everything I ever imagined to be came crashing down.

Who on earth could be responsible for this? Only one person’s name could come to mind, which was Dave Matthews my supposed ‘Ex-Boyfriend’ who had threatened to leak my nudes’ online if I ever ended the relationship.

I met Dave Matthews at a red carpet event in Lagos, where we connected instantly, so we started dating. We saw each other a lot, mostly because we were able to get in touch whenever we felt like it. But I started suspecting and hearing rumours of Dave cheating on me. Anytime I confronted him, he usually denies it until I caught him red handed. He came back and apologised and I told him this time, we are so done. Then he decided to take the rough part telling me if he can’t have me then nobody else will. He threatened to leak my nudes which I sent to him during the course of the relationship during our freaky moment. Don’t judge me, I love him and I did everything I could to hold on to him. What Dave Matthews did is a perfect example of what we call ‘Revenge Porn’

According to Wikipedia, Revenge porn or Revenge Pornography is the distribution of sexually explicit images or ideas of individuals without their permission. The sexually explicit images or videos may be made by a partner of an intimate relationship with the knowledge and consent of the subject, or it may be made without his or her knowledge. The possession of the material may be used by the perpetrators to blackmail the subjects into performing other sex acts, to coerce them into continuing the relationship, or to punish them for ending the relationship causing distressed embarrassment which could leave a person feeling vulnerable and could possibly put them in danger.

At this age and time, the use of social media is wide spread across the globe that by the mere click of a mouse or the push of a button on a computer, mobile phone devices, or electronic tablets, messages or information may be sent across the whole universe whether as email, status uploads or broadcast. While social media platforms are now in vogue in terms of reaching out to the world, dissemination of information, keeping-in touch with friends, family, and loved ones, it has also become an instrument of betrayal, backstabbing, and blackmailing, causing distress to others in form of revenge porn.

Till date, the most commonly reported incidents of revenge porn have come from those who are in their teens, adults in their late twenties. The recurring case is jilted lover who is full of anger willing to seek revenge, cause annoyance to the person who gets in contact with such pictures with the intention to extort. Whichever is the case the victim of such revenge suffers injury to character, shame and unwanted exposure which can be extremely damaging for the victim. A violation such as this may leave the victim scarred psychologically and jeopardize future relationships.

BUT WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY ABOUT REVENGE PORN?

While the UK government has acted swiftly to delineate from the crime by passing a law to check the crime in April 2015, the Nigerian counterpart is yet to specifically define revenge porn. In the United State of America, regardless of the fact that some states have passed laws prohibiting either the production or distribution of non-consensual pornography, there appears to be no federal law regarding this content.

The Communication Decency Act, a federal law passed in 1996 regulating pornography on the internet protects the websites and service providers from liabilities for content posted by users that they are not co-creators of.

In Europe, there is a ‘right to be forgotten’ law potentially resulting in European union wide-range revenge porn prohibition individuals have the right-under certain conditions to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them. This applies whereby the information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive for the purposes of the data processing.

In Africa, there are no express laws regulating revenge porn. Although rampant, the society would rather castigate the victim than help get the culprit to justice.

REVENGE PORN: NIGERIA AS A CASE STUDY

In Nigeria, there have been series of revenge porn cases on the internet a recent example is the case which happened on twitter when some ladies alleged that a twitter user called ‘Asiwaju Michael’ raped them and the guy feeling his name has been soiled decided to release the ladies nude pictures and videos as a revenge for the alleged rape.

The question being, is there any law against REVENGE PORN in Nigeria?

The answer is YES!!!!!

Section 170 of the Criminal Code Act and section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act 2015, and section 37 of the 1999 constitution are the Nigerian enactments covering the field on the issue of revenge. A strict review of these two provisions covers some part of revenge porn if done on the internet and the perpetrator will be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7,000,000 (seven Million Naira) or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or both such fine and imprisonment.

Under section 24 of the Cybercrimes (prohibition, prevention Act 2015), revenge porn is also a punishable offence. The Act touched a great portion of the grey areas. It provides that ‘any person who knowingly or unknowingly sends a message via a computer network system which is false, grossly offensive, pornographic, obscene, indecent or menacing commits an offence and is liable to a fine of 7 (Seven Million Naira) and or a term of up to 3 yearrs imprisonment.

A recent case was held in Ekiti State Jusice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, the suit, FHC/AD/17c/2017, filed by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Maami (SAN), and Ayan the complainant.

Counsel and FIDA member to the AGF, Mrs. Oyewole, told the court that Ayan had threatened to post Arare’s nude pictures on social media sometimes in 2017, when the lady told him she was no longer interested in the relationship

Oyewole further revealed to the counsel that, Arare, had pleaded with the convict, who is married with children, not to carry out his threat.

She added that: “the convict then requested N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) as inducement for him to rescind his decision.

“Ayan however posted the victims nude pictures as she was unable to meet up with his demands. The prosecution called four (4) witnesses to prove his case against the defendant.”

Meanwhile, FIDA Ekiti in a statement released, praised the decisions of the Federal High Court stating that revenge porn is a gender based violence against the victim and totally condemns same. It is a crime against humanity and gross wickedness against womenfolk.

“It is condemnable and should not be allowed to strive in any civil society. We commend this judgement and hope it will serve as deterrence to others who are in the habit of abusing and molesting children girls.’’

Also, a cursory look at the provisions of the law would reveal that it is not in fact prosecuting the said offence, therefore, the legislators have a great work to do in passing the law that will reflect the face in issue wherein, revenge porn will be added. The world is evolving daily therefore; laws should be made to dance to the tone of this situation.

With the prominence of social media, there is an increase rate in the cases of revenge porn. However, a few persons have the knowledge of what steps to take towards stopping such menace.

Let me also mention that to avoid being a victim of revenge porn; don’t send your explicit pictures at all. Like the saying “PREVENTION IS BETTER THEN CURE!”

@opemi_awoyemi

@theparakeetshow

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