Rape/Sexual Assault Material on a Porn Site

Overview

Rape and sexual assault are unequivocally illegal.

Unfortunately, when images or videos depicting rape and sexual assault are uploaded to and disseminated on pornography “tube” sites, a lack of perceived accountability by website operators has led pornography sites to be less-than-vigilant about preventing this type of content from being uploaded to their platforms and also less-than-accommodating when it comes to victims’ requests to remove the material.

Defining Terms and Issues Related to Rape and Sexual Assault Material

Rape and sexual assault are terms that are often used interchangeably in a variety of contexts. However, although both are significant crimes, there are important distinctions to be aware of when using these terms.

Rape is defined as the act of sexual penetration such as vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by an object or body part without consent. Sexual assault is nonconsensual sexual contact that does includes rape or attempted rape. Sexual assault also includes actions such as unwanted sexual fondling or touching. Any force, fraud, coercion, manipulation or threat used to induce submission amounts to sexual assault or rape.

Not all states and legal jurisdictions have the same definitions of these terms and some use them interchangeably. It is important to research the laws of your particular jurisdiction to understand exactly the type of crime that has been committed and the type of remedies available.

When Sexual Assault is Recorded

When an assault is recorded and shared on social media or on pornography web sites, the victim feels like they are assaulted all over again. This nonconsensual sharing of assault videos is a form of Image Based Sexual Abuse (IBSA), commonly referred to as revenge porn. In addition to the assault itself, there is an added layer of criminal violation, trauma, and re-traumatization. Furthermore, these videos become the source of more harm from those who watch them. Victims may be bullied in their own community, and online, which is re-victimization. This abuse often hurts friends and family members, too.

An assault can occur with or without physical force. Even if you were tricked, or lied to about what was happening, even if you went along with things because you felt you had to, this is sexual assault. Any sense that you may face worse consequences if you don’t comply is a form of coercion.

These sex abuse videos may  emerge many years after the initial assault. Sometimes the victim(s) may not have been aware that they were made, either because the filming was done in secret or because the victim was drugged for sex. On a personal level, this can interfere with the healing and progress the victim has made. It may even expose the assault to those who did not know about it.

If a victim had to start a new life in a new community as a result of the assault, this could undermine all the efforts put into starting over. Recordings like these can strain personal relationships and interfere with education and career opportunities, in particular if the recording is perceived as just “porn” and not the violation it really is.

This may be especially true if the situation involved manipulation and not just physical force. In other words, you may feel that you are not seen as a victim because the recording does not appear to be forced. But being coerced or tricked into sex is still sexual assault.

Misconceptions About Online Sexual Assault and Pornography

Many people think that pornography sites do not show real sex or real sexual assaults. But this is far from the truth.

Sex in pornography is real and many videos that depict forced, coerced, or fraudulently-induced sex are not fantasy or acting at all. In fact, there is no way to know for sure that online sex videos involve willing participants.

Increasingly, women are discovering that videos of their assaults are being uploaded to pornography “tube” sites such as Pornhub. These sites are not properly screening or filtering material uploaded by third parties. However, because there are misconceptions about how pornography sites moderate content uploads, some women are not taken seriously as victims as a result of this online abuse.

If your assault, including any unwilling participation in sex, was filmed and uploaded to a pornography site, you are a victim of online exploitation.

Could I Qualify for a Lawsuit?

Confidentiality: The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) may use or maintain the information provided here to contact you for further details regarding your experience. Information from this form is strictly confidential. Access to confidential information is permitted only on a need-to-know basis and limited to the minimum amount of confidential information necessary to accomplish the intended purpose of the use, disclosure, or request. By submitting this information, you authorize representatives of NCOSE to contact you for further information, and confirm your understanding that the provision of information on this form does not establish a client-attorney relationship between you and NCOSE.

Disclaimer: The Law Center cannot guarantee legal representation to every injured person with a potential legal claim and the submission of this questionnaire does not create an attorney client relationship. Except in situations directly related to litigation the Law Center generally cannot assist with record expungement requests.

Did someone upload sexually explicit videos of you without your knowledge or consent?

Are you a victim of sexual abuse and/or assault?

Were you ever forced, coerced, pressured, or tricked into performing paid sex acts?

Have you been harmed physically, psychologically, professionally, or in your personal relationships due to exposure to hardcore pornography?

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