While social media in the age of smartphones has made it easier to communicate with other people, it could also be an avenue to ruin another person’s online and offline reputation. Japan has now seen an increase in cases of what is called “revenge porn,” when strangers and former flames upload explicit images and videos of women without their knowledge.
Many young women have fallen victim to this kind of vindictiveness. In some cases, the images are used to shame a person while with others, jilted lovers use it as leverage to continue a relationship. No current law in Japan applies to this case, much to the frustration of the victims. In situations where a minor is involved, police had to use the child pornography law to be able to arrest the suspect. Around 318 cases involving minors were reported in 2013 by the National Police Agency, a 30 percent increase from the previous year.
The alarming increase in cases like this has prompted legislators to come up with a law to penalize it. However, the bill proposal is still in the early stages and it seems that it would still be a long time before an actual law could be enacted. Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has already met to discuss steps in criminalizing such acts with the aim of proposing a draft bill in the current Diet session. “Revenge porn constitutes sexual violence and an offense that could haunt the victims for the rest of their lives. Japan lags behind other countries (in cracking down),” said Junko Mihara, secretary-general of the LDP.
The city of California in the U.S. already made it a criminal offense to post a photo of another person with the intention of harassment, and could cost the guilty individual up to six months in prison and a fine of $1,000 (¥101,500). Until Japan comes up with a law to stop this crime, the best solution to prevent it is refraining from taking explicit photos of yourselves and sharing it with others, even to your partner.
[via The Asahi Shimbun]