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Non-Consensual Pornography is an attack on basic Human Rights

It is important that you know that the non-consensual dissemination of intimate material by electronic means is a violation of your human rights, and it disproportionately affects women throughout the world and, thus, is considered a form of gender violence.

Human rights are universal and inherent to all human beings; all people have the same rights, without discrimination. In this context, victims of non-consensual pornography have their human rights violated, including their rights to equality, freedom and security, privacy and freedom of expression, among others. Rights that, by the way, should also be protected when we are on the Internet.

All these rights are enshrined in human rights systems and in various international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and in regional mechanisms such as the American Convention on Human Rights and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women.

These frameworks also establish action programs for States to guarantee the enjoyment of those rights, and the private sector should assume their responsibility protect, respect and provide remedies to these cases, so people can see their rights protected and strengthened.

State

As we said, online harassment and in particular, non-consensual pornography, are human rights violations. Within the framework of international law and the instruments we mentioned above, States have the obligation and duty to respect, protect and guarantee the exercise of these rights.

For this, they must adopt appropriate measures to prevent, investigate, punish and repair the abuses of our rights through appropriate policies and laws, regulatory activities and enforcing them through justice.

Private Sector

Companies also have responsibility with respect to human rights.

The United Nations developed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (or John Ruggie’s Principles) that provide guidelines for business behavior in the context of human rights.

The principles say that companies have duties and responsibilities. Among them, the duty to make a prior consideration of all risks, impacts and possible violations that their activity may involve for human rights (exercising human rights due diligence).

Companies must implement actions, to reduce, avoid or mitigate risks. In this case, private digital platforms have a responsibility to protect the victims of the non-consensual dissemination of intimate material by electronic means.

Persons

All persons have all the rights and freedoms proclaimed in international and regional human rights instruments.

Human rights are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. That is to say, the advance of one human right facilitates the advance of the others, and the deprivation of one right affects the exercise of the others.

Non-discrimination and equality are key principles in human rights systems and are central to the instruments that seek to combat violence against women and girls, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention from Belém do Pará. This includes, for example, the right to equal protection before the law.

How to keep evidence

The immediate reaction is trying to remove, through all means, any intimate content published without your consent on any platform. This is perfectly understandable. However, both platforms and the judicial system will ask you to provide evidence of the case, so it’s important to keep it. For this reason, before you take any action, read the following recommendations.

1. Keep evidence before you delete the material
– Make screenshots from the websites where the material appears. Make sure you get the whole page, including the URL. You can keep these screenshots in PDF format.

– If the content is a video, download it and save it in a hard drive.

– If you have text or e-mail messages that may be relevant, please make screenshots and keep them.

– Make sure the screenshots show the day, hour and any other data that may serve identification purposes. If it’s a group chat, for example, take not only a screenshot of the photo or video, but also of the members of the group.

– Think of all evidences that, besides the intimate material on the platform, may be relevant to the case, for example, threatening emails or text messages. Keep a copy of everything.

2. Support the evidences.
– It’s important that you keep evidence safely; you must avoid it to fall into the hands of unauthorized third parties.

– Organize the evidences in a folder. A good method is to organize them by the day in which the material appeared, for example. But you may create a system that makes sense to you and that helps you find the evidences easily.

– We recommend you to keep all evidence in a digital folder and also to have a printed copy somewhere.

How to keep evidence

The immediate reaction is trying to remove, through all means, any intimate content published without your consent on any platform. This is perfectly understandable. However, both platforms and the judicial system will ask you to provide evidence of the case, so it’s important to keep it. For this reason, before you take any action, read the following recommendations.

1. Keep evidence before you delete the material
– Make screenshots from the websites where the material appears. Make sure you get the whole page, including the URL. You can keep these screenshots in PDF format.

– If the content is a video, download it and save it in a hard drive.

– If you have text or e-mail messages that may be relevant, please make screenshots and keep them.

– Make sure the screenshots show the day, hour and any other data that may serve identification purposes. If it’s a group chat, for example, take not only a screenshot of the photo or video, but also of the members of the group.

– Think of all evidences that, besides the intimate material on the platform, may be relevant to the case, for example, threatening emails or text messages. Keep a copy of everything.

2. Backup the evidence collected
– It’s important that you keep evidence safely; you must avoid it to fall into the hands of unauthorized third parties.

– Organize the evidences in a folder. A good method is to organize them by the day in which the material appeared, for example. But you may create a system that makes sense to you and that helps you find the evidences easily.

– We recommend you to keep all evidence in a digital folder and also to have a printed copy somewhere.

– Even if you keep all the evidence in an organised way, it’s possible that, as time passes, the facts get confusing. Because of that, organizations like “Without My Consent” recommend you to make an evidence chart and organize important information there. Here you can obtain a copy of the chart .