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Legislature tackles electronic harassment
by Liz Mathis State Senator · April 20th, 2017

Posting explicit photos has become a disconcertingly common way of humiliating, manipulating and bullying people.

Folks may voluntarily take these photos, with an expectation that they will be kept private - for example, be shared between a couple only. But sometimes (after a breakup or other incident), recipients share the explicit photos with others.

In the age of the Internet, smartphones and YouTube, it's far too easy to spread images far and wide in seconds. Impulsive teens are particularly prone to this damaging behavior.

It's commonly referred to as "revenge porn," but that term is misleading because sharing photos is not always done for revenge. The effects of this harassment can be devastating; publicly sharing pictures often ruins lives. As one victim said, "It's the worst betrayal that could ever happen to someone."

However, it's not currently against Iowa law.

House File 526 would make it criminal harassment to share images of another person in the nude or engaged in a sex act without their consent. The bill has been approved by the Senate and is now under further consideration in the Iowa House.

If you have questions about this bill, or any others, please email me at
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