Amber Heard says we need to rename 'revenge porn' to take into account consent (or lack thereof)
Instagram / Amber Heard

Amber Heard was a victim of the Fappening in 2014, the mass leaking of the personal photos of almost 500 celebrities, which left Heard feeling humiliated and tormented. She isn't the only person who's had private photos posted online. One in 25 Americans (nearly 10 million people) have either had nonconsensual images posted online, or have had someone threaten to do so. Heard is fighting back against "revenge porn" so that other women don't have to feel the same way she did.

This past May, Heard spoke to Congress regarding the SHIELD Act, which would make revenge porn a federal crime and "target perpetrators who knowingly share sexually explicit or nude images of someone without their consent." Now, she wants us to stop using the term "revenge porn," and start calling it what it is, "nonconsensual pornography." Heard penned an op-ed in the New York Times detailing the problems with the term. "It is focused on intent rather than consent. What matters is not why the perpetrator disclosed the images; it is that the victim did not consent to the disclosure. That is why laws against nonconsensual pornography should look like laws against other privacy violations, like the laws that prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of a broad range of private information, such as medical records and Social Security numbers," Heard wrote.


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Forty six states have laws against nonconsensual pornography, yet the laws tend to fail victims because "revenge porn" is classified as harassment, not a privacy violation. Heard cited many examples where the intent wasn't to harass the victim, such as when California Highway Patrol officers were stealing nude photos off the phones of female arrestees as a "game." Regardless of intent, the person featured in nonconsensual pornography did not say it was okay.

Heard points out that her position gives her more resources to fight the crime, but that's not always the case. Revenge porn isn't just a pretty, rich celebrity problem. But people who aren't pretty, rich celebrities don't have a team of lawyers backing them up. "These consequences of nonconsensual pornography intensify with the vulnerability of the target: Lower-income women, women of color and L.G.B.T.Q. people are at even greater risk. One study found that nearly half of the victims of nonconsensual pornography have been harassed or stalked online by people who have seen their private content. Further, 30 percent have been harassed or stalked in person or over the phone," Heard wrote.

RELATED: If your nude photos are posted online without your permission, Microsoft and Google want to know

You have to hand it to Heard, who is using her power to protect other women from feeling degraded and humiliated. Every woman should feel safe, regardless of whether or not you've acted alongside Jason Momoa.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.