He Had Naked Photos Of Her, She Couldn't Leave

"I was scared to report him because of this sick trump card he had"

Georgina stayed with her abusive boyfriend for months because he had naked images of her, and had threatened to release them to her family and boss if she left him.

"He got away with intimidating me every day," she told ten daily.

"Every day I woke up and had to think 'how am I going appease this man? What will I have to do today to stop him releasing these?'"

Some pictures had been taken with her consent, others without, while she was sleeping. Georgina had just got her dream job, and had a more traditional family, and didn't want the images to be leaked.

"I was scared to report him and scared to initiate an AVO, because of this sick trump card he had," she said.

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Stories like Georgina's are the reason the federal government is on the brink of passing landmark new laws to further penalise 'revenge porn', a trend where spurned partners use compromising images of their former lover as blackmail or payback.

The Enhancing Online Safety (Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Bill 2018 passed the House of Representatives this week and is expected to easily go through the Senate next week.

It outlaws individuals using revenge porn as a tactic, levelling fines of up to $105,000, but also allows the eSafety Commissioner to issue a removal notice to websites or social media services which are hosting such content. Businesses can be fined up to $525,000 for refusing to comply with such a request.

A 2017 eSafety Office report found one in four teenagers had experienced sexting or revenge porn in the last year. A 2015 study found 10 percent of Australians had had a naked photo of themselves distributed without consent.

This week, a NSW man was jailed for 40 years on multiple sex charges, including one where he blackmailed a young girl into having sex with him with threats he would upload naked photos of her online.

Communications minister Mitch Fifield called people who shared revenge porn "creeps".

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"People guilty of this low behaviour need to know they face serious consequences, including jail time. Using intimate images is such malicious ways can wreck lives,” said Senator Stirling Griff of the Centre Alliance party, one of the parliament's biggest supporter of such laws.

The federal reforms are part of a suite of legislation either already passed or in progress nationwide, on both a federal and state level. The Commonwealth Crimes Code Act 1995 will impose five years jail for someone sharing intimate images illegally; while several states have passed their own specific laws on revenge porn, including in NSW, where penalties can include three years jail and an $11,000 fine.

Georgina said she only felt safer from her former partner after the NSW laws passed in mid-2017, despite the pair breaking up well before then.

"Once the laws came I knew he wouldn't release them," she said.

"That's when I reported his other stalking behavior to the police. I felt safe enough to do something about it."

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With sexting and consensual sharing of images so common in modern society, Georgina said it was important to have laws that outlawed inappropriately sharing such images after a relationship ends.

"It places the guilt on the person who leaked the photos and is abusing the victim rather than placing the victim at fault for taking the photos in the first place," she said.

"I think there is a social contract that you can share intimate photos with a romantic partner and have the reasonable expectation that they don't end up on the internet."

Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, urged people experiencing revenge porn to report it. 

“Tell your friends, your colleagues and your family you do not have to suffer with intimate images being posted without your consent. If this happens to you I urge you to contact the world leading Office of the eSafety Commissioner who has the power to help,” she said.

For more information, see the eSafety Commissioner's website.