A bipartisan group of women in the House and Senate have filed legislation to take down revenge porn, the act of posting naked photos of women for fun or profit.
Holly Toups, who found her 10-year-old photographs on the website Texxxans.com - use your imagination - could be called the poster girl for the movement in Texas. When the website operator told her that her own photos could be removed for a fee of $500, Toups told him he wasn't getting a dime from her.
"I was told it was immoral but not illegal," said Toups, who added that a comments section only added to the humiliation. "After that, when I went back, they added a map that pointed to my location. The only place I felt safe was at work."
That was three years ago. Yesterday morning, former City Controller Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, announced the Relationship Privacy Act, Senate Bill 1135 and House Bill 496. Garcia is carrying the bill in the Senate, along with Sens. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, and Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-Clint, is carrying the legislation in the House.
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Gonzalez, whose bill was up in committee yesterday, said the vast majority of revenge porn is aimed at women and frequently includes full names and social media contact information. Such harassment is a threat to both reputation and employment.
The bill includes both civil and criminal penalties, which is intended to hit those who distribute and those who run subscription-based services that make a profit off of revenge pornography. To date, 13 states have enacted similar legislation.
And for those who might be interested in the website, Go Daddy reports the Texxxan.com website domain is for sale, for as little as $69.99.
It's unclear whether the irony of that price was intended.