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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  October 22, 2013 7:30pm-8:01pm EDT

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>> for domestic domestic survivors, separation from their user doesn't always mean the end of their ordeal. for many, as demonstrated, continues online. and this takes a lot of forms, from the extreme of revenge porn, when intimate images or videos of an ex are online, or
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publishing intimate details, and so many valla the internet, going offline, so what are the gaps in the system that allows some of the abuse to thrive online? and are there ways for survivors to turn technology into their favor? a former criminal prosecutor who specializes in sexual assault. and from sacramento, a domestic violence survivor who founded a group, survivors in action, and from the miami school of law, who helped to draft online legislation. mary ann, if you don't know a victim or haven't been victimized in this way, it's hard to understand the severity of this. set this up for us. what kind of things are you
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seeing in these harassing relationships? >> we're seeing people taking the most intimate images, moments shared between these two people, and having this person threaten to use these images against the other person. you're having someone thinking of leaving an abusive relationship. and her partner says you do, i'm going to send these pictures to your parents, to all of your friends, to your boss, and i'm going to upload them to one of these websites where thousands of people will be able to see you. so we're talking about women with the possibility that someone is going to destroy their lives. it was possible before the internet, but it's easier now, so for someone with a click of a button to be able to put into use a threat to destroy your reputation, your intimate relationships that you have, to leave you to think that you have no escape from this kind of attention and surveillance. >> alexis moore, you're a
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domestic violence survivor, and victims' advocate. and this happened to you. put a face on this experience and tell us your story. >> i actually physically left an abusive relationship and thought that would be it. it was very difficult to leave, however, it didn't stop the abuser from coming after me. because of technology, he was able to stalk and harass and basically destroy my life for a certain period of time until i learned to maneuver around him. but i can say this, technology is definitely a weapon, and those in an abusive relationship, male or female, need to consider technology, and we all need to be educated in regards to technology being used as a weapon and cyber stalking >> the online community has used the topic, and speaking of technology, nick says, i wonder if it's possible for victims to move on, especially now when the internet is a giant data mill,
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and it never forgets and everything is stored. dana says that anonymity is important, and the victim online, do not exchange with any and definitely block the ex. words may sting, but they cannot harm physically. this is fascinating, 25% of dating teens report that they have been digitally abused by their parents, and 20% said that they were dynel tall digitally d >> it's not about a romantic relationship, but about power and control. and how they exercise the power and control over their victims. and when they don't have the physical access, they're going to do anything they can to get access to those folks, and the more we live our lives online, the more they're going to try to exercise that power and control and continue the abuse. >> i want to get back to the
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gaps in law enforcement. and alexis, when you were going through the ordeal, you reported your situation to the police what, 86 times? >> yes, 86 or more, and the bottom line is, when technology is used to stop, it's different. law enforcement can't put crime scene tape around it, and there's no way for them to know what's happening, and there are know physical bruises or grown bones, and so what we face as victims, the technological barrier, hey, we're being abused but it's technology and not physical abuse. so that puts us behind the 8 ball. and when you put in the fact that technology is out there, and this batterer in my case was very sophisticated, he knew that he was always going to be one step ahead of me because he had my social security number and date of birth and he knew my mother's maiden name. it made my life a living hell. physical abuse is one thing, and the broken bones and bruises do
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heal. but when you stop using technology, which we know to be cyber stalking, it's one difficult task to overcome. >> john, i'm still stuck on the fact that alexis reported this to the police 86 times, and did the police fail her? >> it could be a combination of both, and it depends on your state's laws, sometimes there are gaps that we need to close. and it could be other laws, like harassment and other laws that may not give you a bigger punch to go after these guys, but it may be that they're not recognizing the technology that's at play, and sometimes the victims don't recognize that the technology is at play. but also, it might be that they don't appreciate how traumatic this abuse can be, and because you said, flurry no broken bones, and there's no bloody
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nose or anything like that. so we might not be taking it as seriously as we should. but particularly when there's a history of physical violence because we're living it online. >> our own lisa tweeted in: we have a video comment, give it a listen. >> mary ann, what's your response to this? online technology, spyware and mall aware, and it's allowing the stalking to continue, and
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how are we responding to that? i not very well. as is already pointed out, if we look at the history of stalking against women, and the way that domestic violence has been treated, we aren't good about the online abuse. but when you add to that the technological aspect, you have a lot of medium on the ground, including the victims, and law enforcement doesn't understand the technical. they're not sure what's happening, and how to track it. and they're not sure about the evidence and you have all of the ambiguity that you didn't have before. so people are widely suggesting that you have to think about this in advance because it's true that with certain types of images and information, you can't get any of it back, even if you're able to successfully prosecute or sue somebody. so we have to think about the
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way that we can use technology and the ways to protect ourselves, so we have to educate law enforcement and lawyers, and judges about just what the cope of the damage is. and how we all need to be able to intervene against it. >> and educating women about the technology out there, when you go to the, which is a national domestic violence website, it says: ie, call, rather than contact them online. john, talk about the awareness or lack of with all of these technologies >> people are aware, including law enforcement and prosecutors, and most importantly victims, and it's port that we educate victims so they can make choices to protect their online identity and lives, but i don't want to
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get in a situation where we are blaming victims, who have done nothing wrong and who want to enjoy living on line and doing the things that anyone can do. so we want to hold the offenders accountable for their behavior the victims, something it's important to educate them. >> and aware of all of the technology >> and what might be used to victimize them. >> imagine that an ex posts nude photos of you online. you would think that that would be illegal. but in most every state, it's totally legal. and there's nothing of that you can do about it. we're going to hear about the phenomenon of revenge porn.
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>> welcome back, we're talking about domestic abuse going online. some go so far as to call it revenge porn. sharing compromising pictures of your partner online. others are going through what she did. rebecca wells, the founder of revenge porn, and thank you so much for being here and sharing your story. >> thank you. >> so rebecca, like a lot of people, you occasionally google yourself, and one day you typed in your name. and the unthinkable happened. >> i typed in my full name. and there was a website link, and it had explicit images of me, and i thought it was spam, but i clicked on it anyway, and up popped a nude gallery of photos of me, and above the
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gallery was posted my full name and the city and the state where i live in very big, bold letters. and i was shocked, i was floored, i lost my breath. i was mortified, absolutely mortified. >> and you came to find out that allegedly, the fellow that you were dating, posted these, and also posted pictures of other women? >> yes, there are at least nine women in my town. their photos are posted as well and i called most of them and told them that their photos are up. and 99% of them are too embarrassed to deal with it, but i haven't heard back from them. it's really tragic >> is revenge porn abuse? >> it absolutely is. we're looking at a situation where someone takes the most intimate radios and photographs of you and uses them to shame and punish and humiliate you,
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and it's a breach of confidentiality and sexual abuse without consent. >> there's this debate, lisa, about how to prosecute this. california has a bill that made it into a misdemeanor: here's a video comment from cathy. >> revenge porn, like the laws against it in california, criminalize speech. and it's a terrible thing, and i would like it see it eradicated. but i think unfortunately, in that instance, the eradication, for example, keeping a journalist from being able to post embarrassing photos of anthony weiner without facing jail time make it not worth the
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cost. >> you heard that, and the aclu said that the amendment in california might infringe on free speech, and what's your response in >> because the intent of the california law, you have to demonstrate that they're intending to humiliate someone, and if it's narrowly tailored to putting explicit images on line, i think you're probably okay. you do have to worry any time you are passing a law that might fringe on a constitutional right. you don't want to be overbroad. but you want to clearly establish what you're trying to stop. and i think it's going to be okay. >> mary, the bill that just got signed in california, a lot of victims say that it doesn't go far enough. in order to be prosecuted under it, you have to be the person who took the picture. so in the circumstances that we're talking about. these women have exchanged
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photos with their partners, and their partner isn't necessarily the one who took it. >> yes, that's the problem with the law, yes, if you took the picture yourself of the victim and you gave it to someone, and they disclose it without your consent, then the california law doesn't apply. and some early research suggests that 80% of the people affected by this did take the pictures of themselves in the first instance. the second problem is the intent to cause emotional distress, and this is a good move on the part of california. revenge porn is big business. there are those who are not trafficking in the material because they have a problem with the victims and don't want to harass them, but they just want to make a buck. and we have to make sura as was pointed out before, they are
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narrowly drafted and we don't do things like intent to cause emotional distress. for all victims. >> well, facebook and dating sites have guidelines to protect people who have been victimized. but do they go far enough?
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>> welcome back. we're discussing domestic abuse going online. and we asked you if dating sites were doing enough to protect rims, and it looks like people are already tweeting in. >> they're tweeting in their thoughts. nancy on facebook:
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aria says: ann says: >> >>: so becca, there are various networking sites participating to try to find solutions and protect the victims, and what has been your experience when you dealt with facebook and linked in to the various sites? are they collaborating with law enforcement to adequately try to solve the problem? >> in my experience, they haven't. i had a specific experience with facebook in march of this past
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year. i gave their attorney an email, and i told them, there's a revenge website, and it's now defunct. but it was linking to each victim's facebook account in order to facilitate harassment. and that's how i found out i was on the site. people started emailing me. i got facebook emails. what i did, i gave facebook's attorney an email and said hey, i want you to know this particular revenge website is abusing your terms of service, because they actually did do something a couple of years ago with another revenge porn website. and two years later, the site operator shut his site down, and i thought, facebook has a lot of clout and they sent this letter to this revenge porn website owner, but i never heard anything back from them. >> john, is it the responsibility of these victims to police, or is it something that might be efficiently dealt
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with -- >> they have internet service residers and phone companies that work well with law enforcement. but when victims try to get access to things to find out what's being said about them. >> more often than not, do they have ces with that >> sometimes they have trouble doing that on their own and you have to bring in law enforcement. and they have to have probable cause to move forward. but they they do work well with law enforcement with internet service providors, where they can speed things along. but legislation can be really helpful too. >> this is alexis moore in sacramento. and i have to say that's our biggest concern, survivors in action and my own personal belief. facebook and google and yahoo and everybody, they're not doing enough to try to make it easy for victims to help themselves,
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self advocate. and there's a lot more they can do on their site to help us out, and law enforcement, they are on our side, but they're so frustrated, and thousands and thousands of man hours trying to get facebook to comply and google and any other website, in order to get evidence to prosecute. so what i'm taking ou saying ouo everybody who has facebook, please help us. victims need your help. social media is here to stay, and we call it the wild wild west for a reason, and we need everybody to help us out, because the victims are out there being left behind. and there's a lot more on their end that they can ensure that nobody is being left behind. >> speaking of victims being pro active, women against revenge porn, here's the letter she wrote on facebook:
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they have gave us a great link to the website. here are all of the online privacy and safety tips: marianne, give our viewers tips on had you to move forward. what line spaces are doing a great job for victims and online abuse? >> well, that is a great source, and i recommend starting there. and there's holly jacob's site and, and information about what's happening. they give you information about how you can protect yourself. and they put you in contact with lawyers who can help you, so definitely start this. and it really is the kind of thing where we need social norms
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to change as well. it's a complex problem. we need law enforcement to be on this, and we need private companies like facebook and google to be on this, and we need the average citizen to say to google, you've taken situations and context and addressed them. there were online mugshots, and you had google responding, we don't think that you should be doing this. and people can stand up and make this change. >> john, you speak on this topic a lot. and one of the things that you say, there has to be out of the box thinking. >> well, looking at your laws, what laws do i have? in the situation of revenge porn, which is horrible, but it's the term now, what else is going on in that relationship? is this one more act that might constitute stalking? are there other laws that might
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have been violated? use of computer to harass, and criminal laws that don't have to do with this one int. incident, but there was abuse going on in that relationship that we might know about, and there's a way to go after folks for ways this don't exist or protect our victims at this point. >> the privacy of an ex partner in such ways is appalling, what goes around comes around: becca, with a little bit of time left, what are your parting responses here? > >> i think it's a difficult issue, it's not just shutting yourself down online. that's not the issue. right now, the burden is on victims to communicate and law
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enforcement won't help them. i found a la lawsuit, and i thik that the ultimate is criminalization and for companies like google and internetter to get onboard, especially when victims file a complaint, saying there are photos of me on facebook, and they're inappropriate, but you know, my experience is they usually don't listen. >> we have to end the conversation here, but thanks to all of our guests. john, alexis, marianne, and becca. we appreciate the conversation this evening, and thanks to the online community. you kept the discussion incredibly lively. and until the next show, see on you line.
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>> good evening everyone. welcome to al jazeera america i'm john siegenthaler in new york. >> u.s. counter terrorism operations are precise and lawful and eective. >> these and other killings documented in our report. >> if the white house takes on a human rights report that criticizes the u.s. for killing civilians with drones. >> anger with improving relations with iran and trust station wit -- frustration with syria's civil war is causing a


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