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Sexual coercion and pornography

Sexual coercion and pornography

Support for individuals who had been coerced into taking part in pornography

A large number of pornographic films involve a coercion of an innocent individual into acting in porn. If it seems to the viewer that it is unlikely that a woman would agree to perform certain sexual acts in a film, then in nearly all cases, the viewer has got it right! In other words, if she looks as if she is suffering or is in pain, or if her smile appear unnatural or improbable in the circumstances, it is very likely that she is in fact in pain.

How common is coercion in porn films

Is it possible to build up your life after you were forced to act in porn films

Would the police help victims of porn coercion

What legal action victims of coercive pornography might take

How common is coercion in porn films

Sexual coercion in pornography is more common than most people would like to believe. Most porn actors get paid very little and many get paid absolutely nothing. Many of the porn actors that you see online, have been forced into pornography by psychological pressure. Many have come from a bad place, mostly in their late teens, a place of rebellion, anger or disappointment and have then found love with the most extreme and untypical person for them to fall in love with.

To please their new partner, they have succumbed to his sexual desires and before realising it, they have found themselves having to prove their love to him by committing more and more extreme sexual acts. Very rapidly, they are deprived of the few relationship that they already and become completely emotionally, and often financially dependent on their new partner. Throughout this process, many find themselves being emotionally abused and in many cases becoming totally controlled by their new partner. To prove their love and commitment they are pressurised into participating in sexual acts with strangers, together or without the new partners. By this time, the victim has completely lost control of the situation.

They are constantly being filmed, humiliated and in many cases sent to porn production agencies to produce porn films for which the new partner is getting paid. More often than not, the porn production company is either fully aware of the circumstances or is turning a blind eye. The producers would often have the victim signing release documents which the victim hadn’t read, hadn’t understood and hadn’t had control over at all. Victims often end up being constantly intoxicated, drugged and in a situation of total loss of the control over their own life. The relationship often ends after the coercing party loses interest in their victim, usually having found someone else to manipulate. The victim then is left to fend for herself. In many cases, porn acters end up attempting suicide and/or in mental hospitals. All are likely to suffer from a post-traumatic stress disorder, which will follow them to the rest of their lives, but which would take a sharp turn to the worst during and follow pregnancy.

Is it possible to build up your life after you were forced to act in porn films

In many cases, victims of sexual coercion and pornography eventually find true love and are able to develop new relationships. This relationships will help them eventually deal with the trauma and begin facing the pornographic material that has found its way to the internet. Many feel that part of the process of recovery, is the removal of their images, movies, personal details and derogatory comments and descriptions from the internet. This by itself is a hugely brave task because it involves confrontation of the worst moments and memories of their lives. In many cases, they contact us when they are in their early 40s and only after the right conditions have been set for them to deal with the traumas of the past. By now, they have most likely built up a sound relationship with a partner and have one or two young children. They are starting to become concerned about the children, finding out about their mothers’ past either independently or through other people.

Would the police help victims of porn coercion

The reality is that during the month, and in some cases, years, of being subject to porn coercion, the victim had been also the subject of countless harms including, causing grievous bodily harm, harassment, breach of data, misuse of private information and most chillingly, rape. For most of these crimes, there is no limitation period, which means that the police can investigate and then prosecute at any given time. Sadly, in the vast majority of cases, the police had been letting the victim down by giving the victim bad advice and by refusing to investigate the matter properly for all sorts of reasons.

In some cases, police have been telling victims of porn coercion that because they signed a release document it has become a private matter with which the police cannot get involved. These responses by the police are wrong and often show a lack of knowledge by the police of the law. It is not true that the police cannot deal with cases where someone had signed a contract, particularly in cases where there has been a suggestion of coercive behaviour and of the victim performing sexual acts on men whilst intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

What victims of coercive pornography can hope to achieve

In many cases, victims of coercive pornography might be unable to achieve all their objectives. However, it is nearly always possible, with the right legal advice, to achieve enough, from a legal point of view, to allow the victim to have porn videos and private information removed from the internet and for the victim to start to rebuild her life. Most victims of coercive pornography want to have their personal information and images removed from the internet and from search engine results.

They also want to have videos featuring themselves removed from pornographic websites. Another common objective is to ensure that the person who coerced them in the first place, and who took advantage of their vulnerable situation, is held to account for his actions, destroys their images and videos and pays compensations for breaching the victim’s privacy and for the physical and mental damage he had caused her. Finally, whenever possible, we will aim to secure copyright to the videos which feature the coerced victim, or to have another form of guarantee that the videos will be removed from the internet and never uploaded again.

What legal action victims of coercive pornography might take

Criminal and civil legal proceedings

Removing personal information and images from the internet

Removing videos featuring the victim from pornographic websites

Holding porn abusers to account

Criminal and civil legal proceedings

Victims of coercive pornography might pursue criminal and/or civil legal action against their abuser. It is worthwhile to speak to the police again and insist that the police register and investigate the complaint for criminal activities of the abuser. Our experience is that the police will be unlikely to investigate but it is still a good ideal to file a formal complaint. In the absence of the police willingness to investigate, it is possible for the victim to instruct lawyers to bring a private prosecution to the criminal courts against the abuser. This is likely to take a very long time and at the end of the process, if we the lawyers are unable to prove the charge, the abuser might then walk free. The standard of proof in criminal prosecutions is very high. The lawyers will need to prove the case against him beyond reasonable doubt. At the end of the trial, if the abuser is found guilty, there is a high likelihood that he will be sent to prison.

As an alternative to criminal proceedings, it is possible to commence civil law proceedings against the abuser. In civil law proceedings the standard of proof is much lower than in criminal proceedings. You only need to prove your case on balance of probabilities, or in other words, that is it more likely than not that the abuser took committed the wrongdoing that the victim is alleging. Usually, following legal action in a civil court, where the defendant is found guilty, they are ordered to pay their victim monetary compensation rather than having to face a prison sentence. This is why the standard of proof in civil proceedings is lower, because there is no risk of the defendant being deprive of his liberty. One of the downsides of pursuing a matter through the civil court is that in most case, there is a limitation period of 6 years, from the date of the injury, or the date of publication, for the victim to bring their case to court.

However, if the publication of the videos, images of abusive comments is ongoing, it might be possible to claim that the actions of the abuser are recent and even if they started many years ago, there are still ongoing. For example, invasion into your privacy or harassment tend to be ongoing events where the victim can overcome the 6 years limitation period. On balance, we would often advice to pursue the abuser through the civil court because this route is more likely to produce the desired outcome, it is faster to conclude, the abuser is more likely to settle and less likely to fight and the victim can recover substantial compensation and an injunction to stop further publications and abuser.

Removing personal information and images from the internet

To remove personal information, images and videos from the internet, we will often need to identify the instances where your private information appears online in connection with pornography, and then take steps to have it removed. Some of the information is likely to be removed following our efforts by the website operators whilst other information is likely to be removed by Google.

Often, we are able to achieve this objective without having to resort to legal action but sometimes this might not be the case. 

Removing videos featuring the victim from pornographic websites

To achieve this, we often contact website operators, including film producers and distributors. Our aim is to have copyright to the film transferred to our clients. In some cases, we are able to achieve this after negotiations with the producers or distributors of the films, and it is very rare that we are required to take matters to court for this purpose.

Holding porn abusers to account

Holding porn abusers to account often requires obtaining a full witness statement from the victim as to the events that took place and then communicating with the abuser with a letter before legal action, where we will be giving him an opportunity to resolve matter amicably by accepting responsibility for his action, by paying your compensation and by reimbursing you for your legal costs.

Often this is helps achieve the ultimate outcome for the victim and without having to resort to actual legal proceedings as porn abusers tend to prefer to settle those matters rather than having to face legal proceedings.

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