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It’s a shocking moment when you discover private images or videos of yourself that was sent to another person shared across social media, Internet, email or any messaging app. Maybe you took a nude picture for your lover, or maybe you let someone take nude photos of you during a vulnerable moment.

If any explicit, sexual images are taken, and sent to a third party, it can very easily exist somewhere else on the Internet. If you are the owner of the images, it is illegal for a third party to share any images or videos without your consent. Especially when done so for malicious reasons. This is “revenge porn” and is now illegal in South Africa.

The bill, that forms part of the Films and Publications Amendment Act, states that “any person who knowingly distributes private sexual photographs and films in any medium including through the internet, without prior consent of the individual or individuals and where the individual or individuals in the photographs or films is identified or identifiable in the said photographs and films, shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction”.

With the new act in place, anyone found guilty of sharing private sexual images and/or videos can be jailed for:

  • Knowingly distributing private sexual photographs or films without the prior consent of any individual featured.
  • Sharing private sexual photos or videos publicly with the intention to cause harm or distress to another individual.
  • Uploading private sexual photographs where the person can be clearly identified or is named in any accompanying text.

Anyone found guilty of sharing “revenge porn” will now jailtime of up to four years in prison or a fine of between R150 000 and R300 000, depending on whether the victim is identifiable in the sexual images or videos.

READ MORE: WHAT YOU POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA MIGHT LAND YOU IN HOT WATER… OR WORSE…

Help, someone posted my private images without my consent! What can I do? 

  • Always keep a record. If you see someone sharing your private content without your permission, take a screenshot, save any URLs and keep it safe if you are considering legal action.
  • In many cases, the person who shared the private content is known to the victim. If you can proof you know who shared your explicit images or videos, keep a record and present it to the police and your attorney.
  • If your private content is posted on a pornographic website, you can send a request to the website to remove your content. In this case, it is best to contact a lawyer to assist you with getting your content permanently removed from the public domain.
  • When you are the victim of “revenge porn”, it is best to report it to the police immediately.

Can you take legal action when your private images or videos are shared online without your permission?

Yes, you can! If you are the victim of “revenge porn”, contact Cavanagh & Richards Attorneys for legal advice and today.

Watch this explainer video for more information on the new "revenge porn" law:

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