WebDef: Revenge Porn

Revenge Porn /rəˈvenj pôrn/ – Compound Noun: The abusive act of posting (or blackmailing with threats of posting) images of a sexual nature, without the subject's consent. Any image that would threaten a person's honor or inspire shame would fit this definition, even if it isn't explicit. So, in some cultures, even unveiled hair or uncovered arms or an enticing look would suffice.

Posting – or threatening to post – any images of a person, whether for revenge or for personal gain, is wrong. In many cases, it is also illegal. In some cultures, where honor is threatened and shame is brought upon a woman (and by extension, her family), the impact can be deadly. Revenge porn can put a very life in harm's way. Serious consequences, including forced marriages and even honor killings, are not unknown, sometimes even for the mildest of infractions. And there are those who use their good looks and the wiles of the web to intentionally seek out suitable targets, preying upon the most vulnerable, blackmailing and terrorizing them for financial gain.

A Word to Victims of Revenge Porn

Seek help – from others, and from above. See our links page for possibilities. Take courage from Paul's words "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13) or Jesus' words: "Take heart, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) . Regardless of what the world is telling you, know always that you're a beloved child of God, and that no matter what happens, nobody can ever take that away from you. The world can't define you; that's between you and God. Remember the psalmist's words, in Psalm 139:14 "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." Be assured that people who may never meet you are praying for you, caring about your plight, and that in the darkest of moments, you are never completely alone. Cast all your anxiety on God, who cares for you. ( Peter 5:7). Stay strong.

To Those Committing the Sin of Revenge Porn

Repent! Turn back to God, who will love and forgive you. It's never too late. Try to undo the damage you've done. Remember who God made you to be. You're capable of such better behavior than this, and life could be fuller and more beautiful when you choose the higher path. Here's a link we found for you: TurnbacktoGod.com.

To Parents…

Has your child (likely, daughter) been a victim of revenge porn? We suggest you love them, don't judge… even if you feel they should have been the epitome of perfection and somehow fell short, your child needs you more than ever, right now. Your child is a gift from God to be treasured, not harmed, and none of us is perfect. Rather than attribute blame, you could take a high road. You are in an unique position to be a protector… for there is a predator attacking your child. Would you blame a gazelle for being attacked by a lion? This is why James writes, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." (James 1:19-20). Jesus teaches us, in Luke 6:37, "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven." This is echoed in John 8:15, where Jesus said, "Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no one." A holy response is a loving response. Jesus summed it up in his Great Commandment, found in John 13:34-35 : "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

To The Rest of Us

Our role, in a nutshell, is to step in and shield the weak. If we're in positions of influence, this may involve education, punitive measures, and setting protections in place so this occurrence is minimized! If we're in families, it may involve speaking up or standing in solidarity. See our related WebDef on Justice, and remember Jesus' admonition in John 14:15: "If you love me you will obey what I command."

For More Information on Revenge Porn, see the Expose by Katie Razall, Special correspondent, BBC Newsnight [click here].

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WebDefs – simple definitions of key terms relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants. Offered (where applicable) in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, WebDefs can be a useful starting place for exploring a topic of interest.

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