Conversations

Transcript: Revenge Porn

This is a raw, unedited transcript of the Dot Dot Dot Conversation “Revenge Porn: Sextortion, Online Harassment & Cyberbullying.”
You can listen to the full recording here.


Laurie Segall  00:19

This is a series of our Dot Dot Dot Media conversations so we’ve had many throughout the summer. Last week we spoke about cults and deprogramming. Which was really a fascinating conversation we had folks really opening up about what it was like to be in a cult. So we’ve had some folks really get vulnerable with us and, and I’m super excited about today because this topic is near and dear to me, so we just are waiting for Elisa and then we’ll get started but if you want

Elisa D’Amico  01:05

I’m here. 

Laurie Segall  01:07

Oh, you’re here. Amazing. I don’t know why it’s not showing up for me. So, um, perfect. Well then let’s get started, um, you know, welcome to today, our conversation is all about something called revenge porn. And this is, you know, This is, as I said it’s something that’s super important, and at least if you want to maybe start. We met back in 20014/2015, when I was. I was at CNN at the time. So for folks in the room, I was our senior technology correspondent at CNN for a decade, and was looking at the issue of revenge porn and that is how I met. That is how I met you and I remember and this is gonna sound weird to folks in the room, but I now call you almost the angel of revenge porn, because this is the most horrific type of online harassment and you’re just this woman who comes in and helps people, all women, mainly women all around the world, deal with it, so can you tell me a little bit. Tell us a little bit about your background just to start.

Elisa D’Amico  02:19

Sure, I will but I need to sort of disclaim that title. The angels are really the other individuals on with us, who have experienced this and really still going up for everyone but let me tell you a little bit about sort of how this came to be. I am born and raised in New York, moved down to Miami, and had a practice there until I actually just left to go in house so during my time at K and L Gates. I was working with. At the time I was an associate I was working with a founder, a partner of mine who co founded the project with me who is listening, and in our room so Hi Dave. And, you know, at that time I didn’t have any leverage. I was just trying to learn all that I could and be a good associate, and in, you know, not in the shadows, but most of what I was doing on the side was related to women’s rights women lawyers, and, you know, trying to pass it on and pay it forward I believe truly that lawyers are, you know, practicing laws of privilege, and it’s our duty or obligation and really just should be a complete joy and pleasure to help those in need, right, and by that I mean pro bono work. And so the project started at the end of 2014 It really was a perfect storm. Because Dave was able to convince the powers that be at the law firm to throw their weight behind this, and the project the cyber Civil Rights Legal project was born. And the most important piece of it I think is that we launched it not as a project for those who couldn’t afford the services, which, by the way a lot of people but it was a civil rights project so, meaning that your cyber civil rights are something that are fundamental to our human our human rights and so we don’t look at it and the project is still the project is still going on, I just don’t work at the law firm anymore but you know we didn’t ask anyone what they made what their means we’re just it’s a project for everyone and we only had so many resources I think at our peak we had 100 lawyers working on three different continents or you know maybe four continents and, you know, everyone was putting in their time and volunteering for free and we did as much as we could. And, you know, we only have enough resources to, to do what we can and it’s, it, there’s always, I wish we were out of a job right, I wish that there was no need for us but it’s just, it’s still going on even today and so that’s really how, well that’s how we met was sort of right after that happened there was a New York Times article in January of 2015, and then you and I met, and we worked on an amazing project together which I need to thank you because obviously whenever there’s visibility to what you know what’s going on in this space, whether it’s legal work or advocacy work or anything. You know the media around that really does affect, who can see what’s happening and who can get help. So that’s really, really critical for us.

Laurie Segall  05:46

Yeah, and then also I’ll just mention, Holly if you don’t mind because you’re our only moderator if you don’t mind, trying to make Caroline a moderator too so we can invite, or we can invite, Steph up to really quick so I think that’s just a technical thing and then Caroline can back channel and tell you how to do that. Yeah I mean God, at least I remember that the, the project we did I just remember sitting across from you know sitting across from a woman named Nikki and, you know who said to us, every time someone Google’s my name, I’m worried. They’ve seen me naked. And I just remember thinking god that is so astounding we’re sad and this is this type of harassment that at the time, no one was talking about, you know, and and I think, you know, I think, for, and that was back in what in 2015 And so, so many things have have changed and I want to get to, to Jane just to share a little bit of her, her story, but to start, I think, really quick, just so everyone knows, the definition, you know, revenge porn, and maybe at least maybe you could give a better definition than me but it’s this idea of having your it’s non consensual pornography right it’s having naked photos put out there without your consent is that the is that a decent way to describe this.

Elisa D’Amico  07:07

Yeah it’s fine it’s colloquially revenge porn, it’s taken a lot of names non consensual pornography or image based abuse but essentially your your intimate media gets out, or is shared without consent. And yeah, obviously the, the two other women. Yeah, Jane and Holly can can really attest to what happens. Yeah.

Laurie Segall  07:27

 And, Jane, maybe we can start with you. And just so everybody knows, you know, we’re calling you Jane Doe. This isn’t your real name and we really we want to protect your identity. Obviously, the story you’re going to tell. I mean you’ve, you’ve had a pretty horrific experience and we want to be really mindful of that. So can you take me to what happened. I know this was years ago and we’ll get into how you guys met how you met Elisa, all this kind of stuff but tell us a little bit about yourself and what happened.

Jane Doe  08:02

Okay, Um, so, basically, I was a legal studies student at UCF and I was working at a law firm, and I met the person who became my boyfriend slash abuser because to me, you know, the revenge porn in and of itself is a form of abuse. So I’m just going to go ahead and refer to him as my former abuser, but I met him through a networking event, because people in my area, which was personal injury in his area, which had to do with holistic medicine, kind of work together so we met at a networking event and you know kind of hit it off started talking started dating. A couple of months in, it started to get you know, abusive, verbally, psychologically and eventually it kind of like lead to physical abuse, and with that, you know, came the entire conversation of, you’re you’re a goody two shoes you, you’ve never done anything daring or you’re not sexy, because in the beginning he would kind of ask me to allow him to take pictures of me or to send him pictures of myself naked and things like that, but I had been basically a person at the time who was very religious, grew up in the church. And I didn’t, I barely like to swear. You know, so, for me and I had just left the church at that time and kind of was trying to pursue something for myself and find my own spirituality, so I was trying to kind of separate myself from that, but he didn’t help because in a lot of ways he was guilt tripping me and just call him you know you’re a bible thumper you’re, you’re this you’re a Jesus freak and that’s why you’re not sexy right essentially telling me I’m not sexy, I’m not sensual, making me feel like less of a woman and it was through that type of basically making me feel less than that he was able to convince me right or pressure me into allowing him to take photos of me naked, right, and at the time it was somebody who I thought I loved and somebody who I really wanted his approval so the more he disapproved of me and the more he made me feel horrible about how I looked about, he even made me feel bad about wanting to be an attorney and going to school for that, you know, he made me feel horrible about everything about me. So the more he did that, the more I wanted his approval so I eventually succumbed and allowed him to take pictures of me, but, um, once the other abuses, you know the the psychological the physical got extreme for me, I gradually and we were living together I guess I failed to mention, we were living together. I started to Little by little, without him noticing move my things out, you know, because, so this is where it kind of goes into, he has to beat me and he one night he tried to kill me with that with an electric guitar and we talked briefly about that. Yeah, the, the neighbors saved my life because I ran outside and he was chasing me in with a guitar. 

Laurie Segall  11:33

And so this is this is clearly, both emotionally and physically abusive relationship, that, That you right, and I think it’s important for folks to know I mean, you talk about, you know, being in a professional field, or being someone who you call a quote, a goody two shoes right and wanting to prove yourself and, and you really trusted this person. I did. And, and, and tell me and I don’t want to interrupt you, I just think that that context is really important, because there’s so much shaming going on. When people see photos of women on the internet or this or that with this type of abuse. So, so let’s go back to that so you talk about this day where you were actually worried for your life.

Jane Doe  12:23

Right and you know this was basically the event and the reason I even go into all of this is to explain why he got angry right because I had tried to leave and he threatened to hurt my family he threatened to kill my dog, a lot of things and eventually after that he beat me that night to where my face was unrecognizable essentially. And I left and I had already been in the process of moving my things, little by little and I left a lot of things behind in the Sheriff Department but after I left, was what triggered him to put my pictures online, because he was angry at me, you know and and I Yeah, revenge, you know, so not only did he just put the pictures online he put my first and last name my phone number my email. Everything you can imagine.

Laurie Segall  13:15

And can you tell me, I mean, I can’t even envision, you know, realizing that, you know, these intimate photos of yourself are online for anyone to see can you tell me how you found out, or, you know what, what went through your head when you saw this.

Jane Doe  13:33

Yeah, so I remember exactly where I was what I was doing and the exact date when I found out and it was a friend of mine, a male, of course, who messaged me and he was just like, he messaged me on Facebook and he was like look I don’t know if you know, and I don’t want to be the one to tell you but your pictures are online and and and what he did on top of putting my pictures on a particular website, is he created a fake Facebook and started messaging the pictures to everybody who I knew, like, and I’m talking about my little brother’s friends, because people started contacting me and telling me this and and and I appreciated it because they were trying to look out for me but it was so humiliating. I had never felt so humiliated and defiled in my entire existence, but um, it was a friend of mine who contacted he actually sent me the pictures and said look, there’s somebody, sending this to me and I immediately knew who it was, and I met, I emailed him because I had blocked everything of his I blocked his number I changed my number, so I was trying to protect myself from him but I emailed him and he confirmed to me that yes he put it on some website that I don’t remember the name of anymore. So yeah, that’s how I found out through people people started messaging me and telling me

Laurie Segall  15:00

I can’t imagine sensing, an inability to have control, right, when something like that happens, the, the embarrassment and not being able to control anything and I think so much of, at least from having covered this so much of what the folks who do this, they do it. Yes, it’s revenge it’s control it’s a very horrific type of harassment. And there are folks in the audience like this isn’t just these photos are out there, there are sites and Elisa you showed this to me I mean there are sites out there devoted to humiliating and shaming women with this type of with this type of material, right.

Elisa D’Amico  15:45

Yeah, and there are a lot of them have been brought down and taken down and offline but these are, I mean, and you, you cover this a lot and you’re, you know the CNN project that you did but women are treated like baseball cards right like photos and sometimes. Photos are just literally impossible to put back in the box, because they are downloaded and shared and downloaded and shared and spread like wildfire. I remember one of the clients that I was trying to help I had been battling the same set of photos for 10 years, and literally couldn’t make any, any progress because of how widely they were shared.

Laurie Segall  16:30

Wow. And, and how I want to talk about your story because you, you have a fascinating background and especially with what you’ve, you’ve done with a lot of this but just starting with starting at the beginning, you had a pretty horrific experience that mirrors, some of these other stories is uniquely horrific in its own way I feel like everybody it’s important to say everybody’s story is horrific in their own way, but can you tell us. Can you tell us what happened and how this started with you.

Holly Jacobs  17:03

Yeah, absolutely. I’m first I just want to say, Jane, I’m so sorry that this happened to you and what you went through is horrific and I’m absolutely here for you. As a fellow victim and activist, and I’m somebody who has kind of put some things in place to hopefully help people like yourself. Yeah. And so it happened to me in, in 2012 and I was in the middle of pursuing my PhD I was about, I was actually about to get out of there, I was working on my dissertation, and I, I posted a picture of me and the person that I was dating at the time on Facebook, and we were, we were at a wedding so obviously he was my date obviously I was dating him. And the very next day, I got just a flurry of emails, letting me know that there was material posted on the internet. So, there were tons of photos and a video, and I’m just hundreds of posts I think the first day it was like 200 posts associated with my name. And, you know some of the people reaching out we’re saying we’re as Jane said somebody just alerting you to it and being like, I don’t know if you know this but you should and you should, you know, get it down and I can help you do that. But one person in particular was threatening me and they said, you’ve seen what what material has been posted, and I have more that I could share. And you need to get in touch with me before this time otherwise if you don’t, I’ll start the distribution. And I reached out to an attorney that specialized in this area. And he reached out to that individual and told them, you know, basically like giving them a cease and desist, like if you post this then we’re going to come at you with the fullest force of the law. But person just ended up going following through on their threat, and there were just 1000s of search results with my name you know and I just found myself a victim of something that I thought only happen to celebrities at the time, you know, I was like, who cares about me I’m just, you know, a lowly regular person trying to get my degree and trying to get it, get on. On this professional path that I had built for myself, but I called the police, and I was in Miami Florida at the time I called the police and tried to file a report and they told me. Sorry we can’t help you this, you know, there’s this isn’t illegal. Find yourself a lawyer hire yourself with an attorney. And so I spoke to my attorney and he was like you know I could, I could help you to this and but I see that you’re a PhD student, I’m sure you have tons and tons of loans which I did, and it was like it’ll cost you hundreds of 1000s to pursue this person, especially because it’s on the internet and all the technological stuff that is involved with there of tracing the IP address and whatnot and. And in the end you may not really even get anything, you know, depending on on who this person is. And so, I just, things just kept getting worse and worse, my material was sent to my, my family like my family was alerted of the material. I remember going home for Thanksgiving and my mom received a call from somebody just alerting her to the material and she just, you know, like cursed them out. There were, there were Facebook accounts, made where the account would friend all of my friends. And then once that had friended, you know, a couple 100 or so then they would post the material.,

Laurie Segall  21:38

And, my God I’m an all How do you I mean, I just I don’t mean to interrupt, only to say, like, and I think you and Jane both you speak about this right as you, I feel like this is, this is something you have lived with right but listening to this, it is so extraordinarily enraging and scary and I cannot even imagine that feeling, I mean how did you cope with it at the time.

Holly Jacobs  22:06

For me, I just kept moving forward like, I just kept thinking you know what the worst that I get eventually like somebody has got to pick up my case and the worst that I get, the more documentation I have of how bad it is. It’s gonna be that much stronger my case because I Human Resources at my school, my university was alerted to this information, and because some of the postings were titled of so and so masturbates for our students, since I had taught some classes at some point in time, and they started to worry that I was some kind of sexual predator, so I had to go in there and defend myself. And, and human resources was like well if it’s and I told them I was like this. I am not doing this. I am being targeted by someone who is trying to destroy my life and human resources, was like, well, if it’s not you, if it’s not you doing this, then why don’t you just change your name, you know, why don’t why don’t you just do that and so you can separate yourself from this material, like it’s that easy, and eventually I did because I reached a point where I was like, alright, you know what, I guess I’m gonna change my name if I have any hope of making some sort of life for myself after this.

Laurie Segall  23:43

I mean the idea that you had to change your name and defend yourself from, you know from being called a sexual predator.

Holly Jacobs  23:52

There was just like a whole other layers, you know, it started to just, I felt I started to really lose it and have like, you know, suicidal thoughts, and I never, it’s just like it was terrifying that the thoughts actually came to me. I don’t think I could have ever gone through with it, but I just had reached a point where I was like, knocked down. So so far that I was like, What do I have to live for, you know.

Laurie Segall  24:29

I can’t even imagine being feeling so so low that you feel like death is an option out I can’t even envision that feeling and I, by the way, I’m so sorry for that feeling. Jane, I’m curious for you I know we hear, Holly talk a little bit about how she was coping at the time. How did, how did you cope, at the time, 

Jane Doe  24:54

um, at first I was actually listening to her story so many things hit home. But Holly I’m so sorry to hear that that seeped into your professional. I can’t even imagine, you know, I’m so I’m so sorry, but I do I had I had suicidal thoughts as well and I remember, much like her finding out that there wasn’t much support in the law, for us, you know. So, I remember thinking maybe I should maybe maybe I should kill myself because maybe if, if that happens, maybe they’ll pay attention to this issue I remember literally thinking, maybe my only purpose. After this is to maybe get people to change the law, right, but um, luckily I had friends, you know, I did not tell my family, which is another thing I was so embarrassed. I was too embarrassed to ask for help, and the lawyers that I did talk to was kind of a similar thing I was a student at the time I was finishing up my degree and I couldn’t afford to pay, you know, an attorney so basically I compromised, I just can’t mark. Sorry I can’t even say it. I’m so upset talking about it but I compartmentalised and tried to push it out of my mind and not think about it you know so the way that it even came to my mom’s attention was like a couple of years later, Because, by the way those pictures were still circulating because I felt so powerless I just was like, I’m just gonna act like it didn’t happen and change my number and because I was getting harassed to because he put my phone number, he, he put my name my pictures my information on the sugar baby website, like I was looking for a sugar daddy I didn’t even know what a sugar baby was at that time, because like I mentioned earlier I had been very sheltered, so I found out what a sugar baby was and I had people calling me in the middle of the night, you know, and I had people contacting me and telling me, maybe you should work in pornography, you know, maybe this is what you could be doing, why don’t you come work for me and it was just horrifying so I changed my phone number. And that’s it, you know, and I thought about changing my name as well but I just didn’t have the resources to do it. So, a couple years later it resurfaced because somebody called my mom told her about it and she confronted me. And that’s when, that’s when her and my boyfriend found the Elisa, you know, and that’s how I met Elisa, but I never truly coped with it I simply ran away from it, in a sense.

Laurie Segall  27:44

And when it comes so one of the the through lines here by the way, every woman on the stage or our through line here is Elisa, right, like we are all connected through Elisa. And, which makes me very lucky, which makes all of us I think you are, you are someone who fights against the bad guys. And in such an extraordinary way like I just I love to watch your work, I love to cover your work, it’s, it’s been a privilege of my career. And also I will say it’s been a privilege to speak to women like you guys who, who speak about these things and have the courage to speak about about these things because I can’t even imagine I know I’ve said that a lot on this but I just can’t even imagine the pain that’s associated with it. And so, Elisa, I want to talk to you about how, first of all how you got involved how everybody on this stage. Found you

Holly Jacobs  28:49

Could I interject a little bit because, yeah, I feel like the story of how Elisa gets involved is how I like it, tell it ended up coping long. Yeah so, I once I hit like complete rock bottom, I was like, alright, well, you know what, nobody’s doing anything about this, you know, nobody I see that there are victims, there are 1000s of victims on these sites where I am. And nobody is coming forward and talking about this, There’s obviously people going through it. So why don’t I speak up, speak out about it. And at first it started off through a website, and I decided what really needs to happen is we need a federal log. And so I drew up a draft drafted law. Third during, I put my PhD to use and in my real life, and I researched laws and and I drafted, what I would think, what I thought would be a good law against this, and then I collected signatures, and then through that I started, it was kind of like a lighthouse like, I just, I put up this beam and then all of these experts that were working on this issue that were quietly kind of writing about it in research and in in law, started reaching out to me and saying hey I want to help. And eventually, I launched a nonprofit organization called the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, where I just I built it to be a resource for any victims out there. So anybody who needed to get their material down, we had advice on anybody who needed to be put in touch with pro bono attorneys, we started collecting information of attorneys that were willing to take on cases pro bono. I did, I did some survey research on it so that we could collect data about it, and then eventually we started working with legislators throughout the United States and the world really to legislate against this this issue so when I started Cyber Civil Rights Initiative in 2013, there were only like three laws, and now there are 48 and DC, and federal legislation has passed the house. So, it was like kind of through CCRI, Actually, that I met, Elisa. It was my one of my like righthand women. Professor Marianne Franks who is just a force, oh my gosh she’s, she’s just amazing. She’s a law professor and. And she helped kind of draft some of the legislation, all around the US. And I believe that Elisa met Marianne. At a luncheon, right Elisa, and then they were talking about this, about CCRI, and Elisa was like, I want to get involved, like I have this idea for our project that I want to help, and part I tee that up right, right.

Laurie Segall  32:16

And it’s also part of feeling right and part of your being with the idea that these images of you were all around and, but But it sounds like part of what you saw is. And I remember even seeing this in 2015 when we started covering this for CNN I just remember being like, God, this is such a huge issue like why aren’t we talking about this enough like Why haven’t the tech companies done anything why are lawmakers like acting like they’ve never heard of this, like this is horrific and it sounds like you know you took that pain and you took that trauma, and tried to make real legal change so, so that’s the tee up to, Elisa, so at least tell us about your meeting with with Holly and also I’m curious to know so So what does the law say and, and where are we at so many, so many good things to talk about so.

Elisa D’Amico  33:03

So let me start from where Holly teed it up, and agree that Marianne Franks is absolutely amazing. At the time that I met her. Florida had tried once to pass a law. And it was, it didn’t, it didn’t go through. And so this was the sort of second go around so first of all, I threw some weight behind that, and we started to work with the state attorney’s office to try and see if we could get to Tallahassee and get a law passed, and while while I was thinking about that, I was thinking also about the fact that there’s sort of two. When I looked at someone who’s struggling with this, and of course you know all of the emotional impact of it, you know, but I’m thinking about remedies right I’m not the person, although I will talk to everyone, I’m not the person to solve those problems I’m looking at it from a legal perspective, there’s, there’s the taking down of photos the removals from the internet or destruction. If someone else has copies of it. And that’s, that’s good and well, and a law would be wonderful but it’s not going to be retroactive right a law is not going to help the people who either, you know, can’t get the photos down, or, you know don’t have any means to figure out who did it right and as I think we’ve, we’ve heard today. If you’re not able to find the root cause of it it can often, this, this abuse and as trauma can just go on and on and on without an end. So, that’s when the law firm, came into mind. And, you know, we, at that firm has a cyber forensics lab internal to it and forensic investigators and technologists. And so part of what we were able to do with was use our capabilities and again it’s you know, giving them all the credit for it. We were able to use our capabilities to help individuals identify and de anonymize anonymous individuals who were threatening, you know, the, the James and Holly’s of the world. And so I always said, we’re not hoarding all of the revenge porn victims by any means I would be happy if any lawyer called me and wanted help walking through a case and I’ve done that many, many times, but without the forensic capabilities it becomes expensive. And, you know, we’ve been in some really extreme cases we’ve had, third party forensic firms, support us and do the work pro bono as well and it’s, I mean it’s incredible how much material came out of it, and was utilized. So, you know there’s I think the removing of materials which often, you know, one of the first questions I asked individuals is and probably, I probably Holly asked you this is what do you want, right, some people want to find out who it is. Stop them. You know full force. Go ahead, some people just want the material down. You know so they can go on and some people just want to crawl into a hole, and you’re, and make it go away so I can’t talk about the specific conversations that Holly and I had but I can say that it was, it was a, an interesting certainly an interesting way to meet someone and credit to, you know, both Holly and Jane and all of the individuals who seek help because, you know, Remember, the sort of main thing that’s happening here is exposure. And it’s not only, you know it, yes, it’s the intimate photos and you know your most private moments. You know sometimes the videos and photos were taken consensually, but sometimes they were taken without knowledge and then that’s what happened if you remember with Nikki right she didn’t even know this was being taken, I think he had put one in the bathroom, it was just horrific.

Laurie Segall  37:00

To give right in the room, I’ll explain to give folks in the room, some context so at least when I met when we were working on a story. We were doing a special for CNN called revenge porn, the war on women and Elisa introduced us to a woman named Nikki who to this day is probably one of the people always ask me because I’ve interviewed a lot of tech founders. Sorry if any tech founders are in this room and I’ve interviewed you know before say Who’s your favorite interview and. And I think Nikki might be one of my favorite people I’ve ever interviewed this woman had her photos, put out there, you know, she reminds me, Holly and Jane have you guys met her, it was just extraordinary, you know, the pain she had been through, she had a boyfriend who we all nicknamed at the time, Mr. Wonderful. Is that right, is just in a sarcastic way. Yeah, we called him Mr. Wonderful everyone called him Mr. Wonderful. So we called him that and he had recorded her without her knowing and I think in like a pin cap, or something that put it in her room and recorded her, and he put her images everywhere and I remember and this kind of goes into Elisa some of the these legal issues, I remember and this is a little, a little kind of reporting thing too, sometimes, when someone just says something cute in a sentence, it just, when you’re talking to a source or you’re talking to an interview, it just takes you on a whole new road. And I’ll never forget it was me and my producer, Erica who were sitting there with you and Nikki’s home and we were looking at this horrific site that Mr. Wonderful had posted Nicky’s images and I remember that. And you said this thing that like, created a whole new story for us. He said, you know, and it’s so crazy because, you know, with the copyright in order to own the copyright, and so she can take this down. You know you have to send your like naked photo, or you have to like send a naked photo or whatever to copyright office, something like that and I remember, Erica and I were like wait a second here to send naked photos to the government if you’re a victim of revenge porn to protect yourself. And it just felt like this was so messed up and I remember it wasn’t long after that, that we were sitting in the CNN Newsroom, and we were undercover. And I was calling up the copyright office, and one party consent so we were allowed to do this this was all based on what you said and I was saying, if I’m a victim of revenge porn, you know and do I need to send you my naked photos, and it was just as you just begin to see and the woman was like yeah, you’ve got to send you know in order to get the copyright in order to take them down, you need to send us your naked photos and I was like, I was like I don’t want it to go to some old dudes at the copyright office I remember we taped it all. And it was, it was just this extraordinary moment though which I’m sure Holly, Jane, Elisa you guys see like, it was just like a felt like the law was just so it just felt so unfair. You know, like, if I were actually a victim of revenge porn, having to get the copyright to my, my, these images so we could get them taken down at least I’ve explained that by sending my naked photos to some likely old the copyright office I didn’t feel okay and I remember the president of CNN walked by the time he’s like what are you girls up to I was like, Don’t even ask. It was extraordinary. So can you explain that because it kind of helps you understand a little bit more about how the law works and how you’ve been able to get things taken down. 

Elisa D’Amico  40:30

Sure. so I do you remember all of that. And Laurie Have you sat with every single person because it’s meant to help I swear you wouldn’t have no more time left in your days, just because the stories are all, each in their own way just as extraordinary and I and and Jane and Holly I’ve worked with both of you. And you’re so brave. I mean, when I was, I don’t get to Katherine in a second but what I was talking about exposure. You know it’s not just the intimate photos, it’s also these abusers and these perpetrators attached to it. All of the information possible about you, your name, your address, your school where you, where you work your handles in this in this way that you just become so very exposed right if your photos are out there, and no one knew who it was, you know, that’s one thing but it’s just an I saw me once, about how to create the maximum amount of damage, and it’s just, it’s always stuck with me and horrified me so you know that’s, that’s what we’re dealing with. Now in order to take material off the internet, we don’t need to copyright the material so I want to make sure that that people understand that and the way to remove it is under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act DMCA, you can send a request to remove copyrighted information, or information that you own the copyrights in from any website or platform. So, for example, Laurie, if we go out for manicures and martinis together, and you take a photo of the two of us. And, you know, somehow, that gets somewhere where you don’t want it to be online, you can submit yourself you don’t have to hire a lawyer, although I’ll do it for you if you need help and you can submit a request to pull that down, then generally websites and platforms are all very responsive to these requests because if they don’t respond there are consequences, where they can lose their, their safe harbor and protection from liability. Now copyrighted materials is a prerequisite to filing a federal copyright lawsuit. So, in some cases, and this was the case that was actually reported by the New York Times, but this lawsuit that was filed was a copyright lawsuit in federal court, alleging violation of copyrighted materials which included photos and videos. And yes, in order to copyright materials you need to send them in. There is a waiver process in order, where you can request to not have to send the materials in. But, you know we only even learned about that sort of halfway through, what we were doing and I think the norm is to just submit and then, in a lot of cases I, I’ve known individuals to just submit because it’s easier and you know they want to sort of get the process through but the damages for a copyright violation can be massive. So, you know, again, it really depends on what what everyone wants what the victim wants out of the situation and that’s what you know I as a lawyer would do and sometimes it’s, you know, people often ask me like how do you sleep at night and I sleep very well at what I’m putting my head in the pillow I’m out, but you know a lot of times, I get so fired up about what’s happening. And, you know my desire would be to like stab this person right to actually find them, pumping down and and pursue them until they’re finished, but a lot of times victims, just want the materials down or you know want something different and so my job is to advocate on behalf of the client, and to make sure they’re getting what they want and so I think one of the first question that often people I think forget to ask is, is, you know, what do you want, and a lot of times, you know victims don’t know but, you know, certainly, when you have someone who’s sending photos to your nieces and nephews, your students, you know, imagine that the, the people I mean, if everyone takes a moment and thinks of you. Who would you not want to see the photos most and not happening. 

Laurie Segall  44:48

I mean, that’s that’s what we’re talking about it’s it’s really just mind boggling to this day. Jane when you met Elisa like when you’ve got in touch with her. What did you want, what obviously wanted this to disappear to go away. What was the biggest thing for you.

Jane Doe  45:02

I’m at that point in time I just like once my mom found out about it, that was my ultimate nightmare because my thing was a couple of a couple of years prior to that, everybody had seen it my little brother’s friends. My friends, my friends, friends, you know, everybody except for my parents. So the way that I was kind of able to move on in a way, and was just like okay so my parents don’t know about this and they’re not likely to, because they don’t get online like that, you know, but guess what, that’s not how it works so somebody anonymously contacted my mom and told her about it so my biggest nightmare was my mom finding out and basically all I wanted was those pictures to go away right I hadn’t, I hadn’t thought about anything beyond that and, of course, I was in a pretty difficult situation. Again, in trouble because of something that he had convinced me to do, so I was in a pretty limited situation so basically all I wanted was for the pictures to go away but now I feel like if it was me now I would definitely want to go after him, as hard as I could because he didn’t only, not that only doing that isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. But on top of that, you know he physically hurt me he psychologically hurt me. To this day, I’ve never been the same person since I had nightmares about this, and I still do to this day and this was eight, nine years ago, and I still have nightmares about it I still have difficulties in my current relationship I still don’t make friends, you know, when I was talking to Caroline about it I don’t make friends. I don’t trust people. So it’s now, if I could I would definitely want to go after him so he could just pay for what he did because this should be criminalized in my opinion this is a sex offense, you know. So that’s, that’s where I was at the time, just get these pictures down, you know. Yeah. What do you feel like he took from you. Hope my, my, my, just with the leaking of the pictures for example my, my pride my confidence, my respect my dignity. I can’t compare. I cannot write I cannot compare to how a rape victim feels but I feel like this is the closest that I can get to empathizing with that because I felt so violated and not by one person. 1000s, right and and people who would contact me to gloat about the fact that they were having more fun with my pictures I did not want every single person to see my body, it was somebody who I thought I loved so I felt betrayed too, so there’s just so much that was taken away and I don’t think I will never be the same person that I was, you know, That is the truth. So, I just hope that if there’s anybody listening in the situation or not even in the situation but sees certain red flags please heed heed those red flags because somebody who loves you is not gonna guilt you or tease you or make fun of you into doing something you’re not comfortable with, you know.

Laurie Segall  48:41

And Holly I’d love for you to jump in, I know that what you’ve built, you know, can you, you, I’m sure that you guys get I mean how many, how many people message you guys every month or what are the statistics of people reaching out for help. Now, compared to what it was years ago and I know you’re not involved as much on a, on a day to day basis but how are you doing now.

Holly Jacobs  49:11

Right. Yeah, so we have a helpline that victims can call into, and the number is 844-878-2275. I think it’s 275 at CCRI I forgot to do the numbers. But, um, so yeah through that helpline. In 2020 we, we helped 4000 or 4000 victims, and 2021 from January through June just January through June. We helped 2026 So if we continue on the current pace then will be just about like 30 individuals less than 2020. But yeah, we, we still get lots of calls, and, and I was at the helm of CCRI for five years, I, I was the executive director, so I was running the organization, but I was also doing interviews like these all the time, and hashing back through my story and and retelling it to the point that I really, I kind of don’t even conduct with it anymore on an emotional level, but it, it wears on me. It really does. Like I, you know, we spoke this morning right and I told you I was like I’m just gonna tell you a little bit about it. But when you’re a victim of this every single detail seems so important. And, like, you can’t leave it out and you have to share your story and then after I spoke with you I just felt like a floating head for the day and I just needed to, to, you know, do for me it’s, it’s music, I, I play music I listen to music, so I had to like play music to just bring myself back down to earth. So because of that, I yeah I’ve I’m still a board member for the organization, but I have very much taken a step back from doing the day to day like reading the news and telling my story and everything just because it’s, it just wears on you, and most victims of this have developed PTSD and depression and anxiety, and I am no exception. It has definitely taken a toll on my psyche. But I still just I want to do, you know, good in this world, for whatever reason, whether it’s genetic or not. I grew up in a very like caretaking family because my oldest brother is handicapped with cerebral palsy and. And it just, it feels good to get out there and, and help however I can like help make the world a better place, so I guess that’s why I kind of chose the path that I did. But my, my heart, absolutely breaks for Jane’s hearing her say that, you know she doesn’t make friends. Like, I want to be your friend. I want to be, I want to be here for you and I completely understand. You know, not being able to trust, after this. Thank you. All right, it is. Yeah, of course, I was hoping I wasn’t gonna cry but of course it’s okay it’s I mean, it’s, this is something horrible that destroys every aspect of your life, and I’ve done a lot to put myself back together but I definitely still struggle. And, sorry I didn’t know that I would cry. Kinda I thought I was doing so good I was like.

Elisa D’Amico  53:16

You guys are both doing amazingly, and I know it’s been a number of years for you both. But just to those of you who are listening and really haven’t had an experience like this or knowing someone, you know, seeking help and speaking out about this, and even getting help is you know is experiencing the trauma over and over again right and so, you know, when Holly and I sat down for the first time she had to show me, it you know I just see everything all of the materials and all of the messages and all of the emails and just literally everything she had to pour herself you know out in front of me and then, you know, with litigation. And, you know, If you’re really trying to see just again someone, you get to pose and people get to ask you questions and then there’s written questions and it was so it’s, it’s telling your story and then, you know, there could be testimony that in court, I mean, it’s, it’s a process and so, you know, particular Jane, I know you said you know, if you could do it over again you do this, you know, maybe, maybe not. And, you know I’m always here for you. I have a feeling that you and Holly will will stay connected. But I hope both of you I’m sure have made at least this room a better place. And, you know, if I always say, if I spend my time talking about this and one person hears and then is able to seek help or you know help a friend or at least if they see some pictures I mean I, I have got three boys, and the, you know, one is more tech savvy than the other one. My three year old can sync up like five devices and play Pac Man on all of them at the same time, but you know I have frank conversations if you see this material if you see this happen. Don’t spread it don’t save it don’t share it tell people to stop you know put a hold on it, let the person know, you know, the quicker you’re able to take action, you know, the quicker you can at least attempt to put it back in, but you know we have to be upstanders and not bystanders, you know, don’t let this stuff happen. One of Karen has is in the room Karen Guggenheim, is the founder of Ohio State, which is a World Happiness summit and in a part of what she and I have been collaborating on, because now that I’m not, by the way, a project anymore I have to find other ways to sort of scratch this itch, but we’re working on the, you know, education, the educational component, you know, teaching how to be a safe internet user and a good digital citizen in schools and how to make sure people maintain their sense of worth and, you know, wellness and all of that so I think that there’s more that we can do. There’s always more we can do. You know it’s not just attorneys, Laurie, it’s you I mean all of the resources and the attention that you’ve given us is extraordinary and I’m sure that you have contributed to helping people and it’s just, it’s really great to see, you know, Jane, I know it’s hard for you and Holly I know it’s hard for you as well but you know you speaking out is definitely changing someone’s life for the better. So, thank you for, for being here and, you know, pouring yourself out again, yet one more time. Thank you. Thank you. 

Laurie Segall  56:36

I’m really, really mindful, Jane and Holly as a journalist right that we, we step into people’s lives, and then we step out, right, we don’t have to live every single day. With that, that pain. And so I always try to remember that when I walk into people’s the worst day of someone’s life. Right. And that’s happened a couple times in my career so I and this is why I think a topic like this, I always promised myself that as I walk away, I’ll never shut the door on it on something as important in order to honor the people that I interview, and that really put themselves out there to do something that God I don’t even know if I’d be able to do truly it’s really scary. I always promised myself that, you know, I will continue covering this. And so, I hear that it’s, it’s emotional and I really appreciate you guys I know you talk about the idea that even talking about these things, brings up, there’s PTSD associated with it so you know I really do hope that it, that Holly, and Jane that you guys are able to connect and Jane to it breaks my heart to hear you say that about not trusting people. And, and I you know I think, I’m sure, Holly can really empathize with that so it just really thank you guys for, for coming up and kind of putting this, you know, putting yourselves out there like this it’s pretty I mean it really is pretty extraordinary.

Jane Doe  58:12

Thank you for covering this, because and thank you, Elisa you, you don’t even know the impact you’ve had in my life, you. I can’t even put it in words but I want to thank you both, because, you know, you Laurie for covering this and using your platform to address it. That’s one of the things that made me kind of put on a brave face and want to talk about this because I was super nervous but I know that it can help somebody so thank you and thank you Elisa.

Laurie Segall  58:44

You know, I want to give you the opportunity because you actually have gone to tech companies, and you’ve as part of what you’ve done, you’ve advised them on how to treat harassment on their platforms. I have set with founders of different platforms, emerging platforms, platforms that have been out there for a long time for a long time and as they’ve, you know, gone through highs and lows. As someone who has personally experienced the, you know, the, the horror that can happen when it comes to harassment on a platform. And as someone who talks to different founders, what would you say to the founders here about treating harassment.

Holly Jacobs  59:24

Um, I would say just be aware of it. There’s, there’s actually a really really good documentary called The Social Dilemma on Netflix, and they address, you know, the things that social media is doing and how it’s ruining our lives, just watching things like that and just being mindful of how the tech can be used to harm, like you you think, okay, you’re building this great platform where you can connect all these people and everything. Think about the bad actors, and what they can do with it and always keep that in mind whenever you’re building any aspect of of the platform. You know the algorithms, and the, make sure that you, you have certain policies and procedures in place to help people who might be victimized on the platforms and CCRI we help we actually help. Consult with companies on that so feel free to reach out it’s cybercivilrights.org, and we’ll help you and then you know we just ask that you give us a tax free donation, and then return to help us keep doing the work that we’re doing.

Laurie Segall  1:00:42

And I know that sounds like a good resource for folks who are going this. But no, I don’t, I don’t want to leave this conversation without resources for folks or anyone who’s, who’s going through something. So Elisa, or Holly or Jane or anything. Are there any resources that you would suggest for for folks who are going through this.

Elisa D’Amico  1:01:03

Absolutely. So, you know as Holly mentioned, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative is a national advocacy group that’s cybercivilrights.org You will be able to find your way to the Cyber Civil Rights Legal project from that website, but it’s separate that’s the project that’s run by K&L Gates, and any individual can write in on the form to seek legal advice, if they are a victim of non consensual pornography and that website is cyberrightsproject.com You know the other thing and Holly mentioned this, there are a number of advocates in this space and legal brilliant legal minds, and other non legal folks, if you’re a Twitter person I would recommend following them, there’s always content stories decisions you know things being pushed out so and I’ll probably forget someone so sorry, but no, absolutely Ari Waltman and Carrie Goldberg. Laurie Segall is awesome I forgetting by right there a number of you know a lot of women who are trailblazing in this space. And, you know, I think, again a huge kudos to obviously the two heroes or angels on the call, and then Laurie you for putting this out there because, yeah, I still I mean, you are the most wonderful interviewer. And I’ve, I’ve heard you interview, Probably almost everyone but you don’t like you leave the room but you don’t leave these issues alone, right this is I mean how many years later. Are we still talking about this and you can see there’s still work to be done. So, yeah, that’s just,

Laurie Segall  1:02:56

I appreciate that and I would say the key to good being a great interviewer is just really finding great subjects. Listen, so I really appreciate that and I do think I think you’re right i mean when we look at the future of revenge porn we are entering a world and I think it’s really important for everyone to understand this like we’re entering the world of deep fakes we’re entering the world of VR and where we’re gonna have weird questions about virtual consent like we are entering a new era. And so we’ve got to really have these discussions and talk to our tech, our tech folks about this talk to lawmakers about this because I think Holly and Jane you do such a brilliant job of really talking about the human impact of this type of harassment and I’m, you know, I think, well keep keep fighting for, and I want to, you know, I know we have to end and I really want to be mindful because I know this stuff. It’s really hard. I asked this question to Nikki, who is the, I told you guys about who is the woman that I interviewed and I want to kind of end on this question I asked her the same question years ago. And so I’d like to give you guys the opportunity and tell me if you don’t want to answer it, I’m totally down I don’t, you know, it’s totally up to you. But what if you. What would you, Holly, and Jane, what would you say to the to the man if you were sitting across from him what would you say to the man who did this to you. 

Jane Doe  1:04:28

I don’t, I don’t even, I’ve never thought about that, I don’t. I don’t think I’d say anything. I have nothing. I cannot even. Yeah, I wouldn’t say anything.

Holly Jacobs  1:04:45

Gosh yeah I mean I would just want to punch the hell out of them, obviously. But also I would just I would just say, like, how, how small, are you that you had to do something like this to make yourself feel like bigger and big enough to live in this world, and like how dare you, like you have no right. And, and, yeah I mean I feel like there are so many things that I would say, but it’s just as hard. That’s a good it’s a good question but it’s like a loaded question for a victim, because well, yeah, that’s a great question.

Laurie Segall  1:05:29

I think what’s extraordinary is what’s happened with you has launched a campaign for women and protection, all around the world. So, you know, I know they’re probably so many people that can’t thank you right for setting up these initiatives at least the same thing, and gain, it’s so powerful to hear your voice and hear you speak. And you guys all have my cell and my email and you just, you know, I’m only, only a call away. And I know at least feels the same. So thank you guys all so much. Is there anything you guys want to add before we before we dip out.

Holly Jacobs  1:06:13

Just want to fix the number that I said was the hotline at 844878227 for, but you can find that on the cybercivilrights.org website and also follow CCRI, our initiative on Twitter, because we are constantly posting about any new developments in this area. Yeah, thank you, thank you so much Laurie and Elisa, I mean I’m, I’m going to see you in like a few days. I know I can’t wait to hire you. You have no idea how much you saved me you know I had. I was telling Laurie earlier I, I went through so many attorneys and was so skeptical when I first met you. And I know that’s hard. Yeah. But you, you truly, truly saved my life, and, and helped me get on. Get back on like a professional path that I had to work so hard to get on and Laurie thank you so much for continuing to cover this, this issue, it’s a shame that it still has to be covered, but you do such a wonderful job.

Laurie Segall  1:07:35

Thank you and Jane I’ll leave you with the last word. I know you wanted to, it sounded like you wanted to say something,

Jane Doe  1:07:41

Just two things the first thing is for anybody listening if anybody is in an abusive relationship. Do not stay. If you see the signs if you see the red flags and just remember that love is not something that’s gonna pressure you to do anything. And the second thing is, if something like this happens to you, Don’t blame yourself. Don’t, don’t blame the fact that you allowed or didn’t allow or whatever you did as far as pictures go because there’s a lot of that going on. So, that’s all. 

Laurie Segall  1:08:22

Beautifully said, You are not alone. Ladies, thank you so much. I really appreciated thank you guys so much for joining us. We’re going to be back next Tuesday at 6pm. So, thank you everyone I know. I know this one wasn’t easy, and so I’m sending you virtual hugs. Thank you again and thank you for everything you’re doing for victims all around the world. Thank you. Ladies, thank you. Thank you.