A Man Was Just Convicted of Sending Unwanted Nudes, Which Are Harmful, Traumatizing, and Illegal in the UK. "Cyberflashing" Should Be a Crime in the US Too.

If you have ever been a victim of receiving unwanted explicit photos, you know it is incredibly distressing. In fact, research tells us that it can take a real toll on one's mental health -- unsolicited or coerced nudes are "associated with higher depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, and lower self-esteem."

But for too long, there has been little recourse for people -- often young women -- who have these explicit, violating images forced upon them. Until now.

Sign to applaud the United Kingdom for making "cyberflashing" a crime, and let's ask the United States to do the same!

This year, the UK stood up for victims of "cyberflashing" (the act of sending unsolicited explicit photos) and made it a crime punishable by jail time. And at the time of this writing in March 2024, the first conviction has been handed down: a man who sent photos of his genitalia to a woman and a 15-year-old girl via WhatsApp is going to jail for 66 months.

He pleaded guilty to "two counts of sending a photograph or film of genitals to cause alarm, distress or humiliation" according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The law that the 39-year-old man was in violation of is called the Online Safety Act, which was passed in the UK earlier this year in an attempt to, among other things, combat sexual harassment online. But this isn't just an issue in the United Kingdom -- the internet and phones (and the kinds of abuse they are used for) are everywhere.

In the US, there have been some attempts from individual states to combat "cyberflashing" but none have gone as far as the UK Online Safety Act. In the states, the crime is either defined as civil or as a minor misdemeanor punishable by small fines. These classifications and punishments are simply not proportionate to the crime -- online sexual harassment is pervasive and damaging, and the US needs a stronger federal law to protect victims.

Please join us as we call on US lawmakers in Congress to protect everyone from unsolicited explicit photos by making sending them a crime. Sign the petition to make "cyberflashing" illegal in the United States!
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