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Guide: What to do if your intimate images are leaked

Sending and receiving photos or videos with erotic or sexual content is not a crime, as long as it is practiced in a consensual manner between two adults. This practice is called sexting and, according to Olimpia Coral, activist and founder of the National Front for Sorority, “it is a sexual right.”

However, the leaking and dissemination of these images, also known as “vengeance porn”, is considered a crime that is penalized both on digital platforms and at the legal level in Mexico.

This is thanks to the historical efforts of the feminist struggle in Mexico, since in November 2020, the Senate recognized cyberviolence and now crimes that violate the sexual intimacy of people through digital means are sanctioned.

The same digital platforms are increasingly aware of this problem and have implemented tools to help prevent and reduce the risks of being a victim of this crime. We tell you what they are:

What to do if your intimate images were leaked: step by step

According to Carlos Castañeda, a specialist in cybersecurity and cybercrime, the greatest risk of this content circulating on the Internet is not only the exposure, display and direct identification of people, but also that cyberbullying can also be seen represented in the physical world. and being the door for something else, from bullying to kidnapping or human trafficking.

If you were a victim of this crime, do the following:

1. Seek legal and psychological support

It is important that you know that you are not alone and that there are numerous organizations and civil associations that can advise you psychologically and legally.

One of them is , a feminist organization that promotes protecting and guaranteeing the right of people to a digital and cyber life free of violence. There are also other options like or .

It is important that you seek advice so that experts can accompany you step by step and you can stop the spread of your images more quickly and effectively.

2. Collect all possible evidence of the leaking of your images and report it to the Prosecutor’s Office for Sexual Crimes

Vianney Martín del Campo Vera, a criminal lawyer specialized in Human Rights and Gender, mentions that, although it can be very uncomfortable that photographs of you or a loved one are circulating on the network, the accounts should not be reported in the first instance.

“I understand the anguish of having the photos circulating… but what has to be done immediately is to present the case to the Sexual Offenses Prosecutor’s Office and not eliminate any evidence,” he shares. This is because if the accounts are reported, the Prosecutor’s Office will not be able to carry out the corresponding investigations.

In Mexico, article 20 of the General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence defines that digital violence is “any malicious action carried out through the use of information and communication technologies, by which it is exposed, distributes, disseminates, exhibits, transmits, markets, offers, exchanges or shares real or simulated images, audios or videos of intimate sexual content of a person without their consent, without their approval or without their authorization and that causes psychological, emotional, in any area of your private life or in your own image.

As well as those malicious acts that cause damage to the intimacy, privacy and / or dignity of women, which are committed through information and communication technologies “

This crime is punishable by imprisonment from six months to three years and a fine of 200 to 500 days. For this reason, the ideal is to make the complaint and collect all the evidence and screenshots possible so that the person, in effect, is sanctioned.

This law is not exclusive to women and also applies to men and people from the LGBTQ+ community.

3. Report on social networks

According to the MOCIBA 2020 study, 70% of women and 52.9% of men who suffer cyberbullying take blocking the person as their main option, followed by ignoring or not answering and less than 12% of men and women report to the Public Ministry.

But blocking the person will not solve the problem and social networks are becoming more aware of this.

Meta has implemented proactive detection technologies and a security team made up of more than 40,000 people to prevent this type of content from being present on its platforms.

According to a statement shared with this medium, from January to March 2022, remove 9.5 million pieces of content from Facebook for violating its policy against bullying and harassment and 15.1 million for violating the hate speech policy.

The prevalence of nudity content and adult sexual activity on Facebook is 0.04%; that is, 4 out of every 10,000 views of this content.

Reporting on the platforms is very important because if someone tries to share the image again after it has been reported, they will be notified that they have violated the privacy policies and will prevent them from sharing the image further. On the other hand, if the person continues to try, the account will be disabled.

on how to report step by step a publication of intimate images of you or someone you know or acquaintance that were spread without permission on Facebook and Instagram.

Although Twitter is much more tolerant of sexual content than the Meta platforms, in its privacy policies it mentions that “you may not post or share explicit images or videos that were taken, appear to have been taken, or were shared without the consent of the users. of the people involved.”

4. Lean on resources to stop the spread

Besides reporting, there are other tools you can use to stop the distribution of these images.

One of them is , a free tool designed to help people who have been victims of the dissemination of their intimate images without their consent.

The tool works by generating a hash or unique fingerprint to your intimate images/videos. The hash, or unique fingerprint, is placed by using an algorithm to assign a specific marker, or unique hash, to an image or video. All duplicate copies of the image or video have the exact same specific marker or hash. then shares the hash with Facebook and Instagram so they can help detect and remove any images or videos that match the hash from being shared online.

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