'It makes you feel exploited': Revenge porn laws now helping victims get justice

A year ago, Oregon became the 17th state to enact "revenge porn" laws that protect men and women alike from having their intimate images posted online without their consent.

Christina Gordon was 28 years old back in 2013, when she found out a supervisor she worked with stole intimate photos from her phone.

“I had asked if we had a charger from the iPhone, he said, 'No but you can hook it up to the computer to charge it,'" Gordon explained.

She believes her supervisor gained access to her intimate photos at that point.

“It makes you feel exploited. Kind of like a trading card,” Gordon said. “I was told [he had] at least 100 pictures of past and present employees ... I went to the restroom and ended up crying for the rest of the night. I had to go home. It was something that didn't hit me right away but when it did, it still affects me to this day."

At the time, there were no laws in place to protect Gordon.

“Left with no options, I didn't have any bit of justice to turn to, so I set up an appointment with the state attorney general's sexual assault task force,” Gordon said.

In 2015, Senate Bill 188 was introduced to make the dissemination of an intimate image illegal.

The revenge porn law went into effect in January 2016, thanks in large part to Gordon's testimony.

“I knew there were thousands of victims across the United States that do deal with this and needed someone to have their back,” Gordon said.

Since January 2016, at least two cases have been prosecuted in Oregon. Attorney Melanie Kebler represented the victims in both of those cases.

“For a long time, when people came to police, they would say, 'Sorry there is nothing we can do,' but now there is,” Kebler said.

Kebler said Oregon's law is written to protect victims and punish offenders. If convicted, first-time offenders face up to a year in prison with 5 years of probation, like Benjamin Barber who was convicted in Washington County last year.

“If you are already convicted of this crime and commit it again, it bumps up to a class C felony which can be higher sanctions,” Kebler said.

After seeing convictions in both cases, Gordon thinks the ultimate justice was served.

“Coming out with my painful story was really worth it, and I would live that every single day if it meant a few more cases prosecuted successful,” she said.

Not only did Gordon help with getting revenge porn laws adopted in Oregon, but she also helped to have current invasion of privacy laws amended to include the theft of personal images.

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